Boston comes out firing on all cylinders from the start to finish, routing Washington 123-101 in Game 5.
It was clear from early in the game Washington’s game plan was to focus on Isaiah Thomas and not let him get in rhythm. For the most part they did just that. Thomas finished the game scoring only 18 points on 5 of 13 shooting. The problem for Washington however was as they focused all their attention on Thomas, they forgot about the other four players on the floor. From opening tip, Boston was hot. Led by Avery Bradley, the Celtics climbed to a 19 point lead behind 15 fast break points to Washington’s zero. Boston came out like it was game even (as they should have) and beat Washington in every aspect of the game.
Bradley ended the night with a game high (and playoff career high) 29 points, along with six rebounds and three assists on the night. His play galvanized the Celtics and gave energy to the arena. Al Horford finished with 19 points on 8 of 9 shooting, not missing a shot until the fourth quarter. And Jae Crowder scored 18 points, while Marcus Smart pulled down a team high 11 rebounds. Everything was clicking for Boston and they look to carry that momentum into a potential series closing game six back in Washington.
Nothing could go right for the Wizards on this night. From missed open shots to terrible turnovers, Washington look lost and lethargic in the opening quarter. Boston was outplaying them in every aspect of the game and Washington look ready to get back home, after the opening five minutes. John Wall had arguably his worst game of the series, finishing with a team high 21 points with only four assists. Bradley Beal was no better with 16 points on 7 for 19 shooting. Washington went away from the “attack Thomas every chance we get” game plan and began chucking up bad shot after bad shot. After the first quarter (which Washington simply could hit the side of a barn door, wide open or not,) Washington as a team looked defeated. The bench unit did come and shrink Bostons lead to 13 in the second quarter, but it ballooned back up to 21 in a blink of an eye.
While Washington should feel slightly optimistic going back home, where they are undefeated in these playoffs, it should be a cause for concern if they plan on capturing game seven on the road, in Boston, where Washington has not won at all season. Wall and Beal have to play better if Washington wants any shot of even making it to a game seven and their supporting cast much defend at a higher rate than that of game five.
Washington has owned teams at home and looked nearly unstoppable in the Nationals Capital. But we will see if they stands true as they face elimination. Game six will be on Friday, May 12, at 8 P.M EST.