The hate both teams have for each other was put on display as Washington routs Boston in game three 116-89.
Washington had their moments in the first two games of this series that could have turned the whole narrative. Being up 16-0 in Game 1, before ultimately being outscored the rest of the game 99–73 is one thing. Being up by 14 in the second half (and having a six point lead with two minutes to go in the game), before squandering another lead while surrendering 53 points to 5’9 Isaiah Thomas is a something entirely different. Washington did everything right in order to leave Boston with a commanding 2-0 lead in this series, they just could not “run through the tape.” Because of this, Washington found their backs against the wall in a must win Game 3, or they would of been facing a 3-0 deficit (a deficit that no team has ever climbed out of). Markieff Morris sounded off on this teammates before Game 3.
“We’re not playing tough enough. We had the advantage late in the game and all we had to do was just play tough. We didn’t have to make shots. We didn’t have to get stops. All we had to do was play tough. We let them get offensive rebounds late in the game. Guys [were] just walking to the basket and we’re just worried about our own personal (expletive). It’s about the team. At the end of the day it’s about winning and we didn’t care too much about that tonight. We let them back in the game. We’ve got to regroup and get the next one.”
If toughness is what Morris wanted, toughness is what he got. It all started with a “slight” scuffle between Ian Mahinmi who was playing his first game in these playoffs after coming off a calf injury and Jonas Jerebko:
Both players would receive technical fouls and both teams got back to the game. While Boston and Washington did not hold back on the trash talk and physical play the entire night, nothing prepared the teams for the “more than slight” altercation between Kelly Oubre Jr. and Kelly Oylnyk. After being hit with a hard, questionable screen earlier in the game, Oubre did not take kindly to a second one just a few minutes later:
This resulted in Oubre getting getting ejected (and more than likely suspended a game or two) and a offensive foul on Oylnyk. This game saw seven techs, one ejection, and two disqualifications (Brandon Jennings and Terry Rozier.)
When the dust cleared, Washington played one of their best games of the entire season. Lead by their defense, Washington held Boston to just 35 percent shooting on the night, and 31 percent from three. While Bradley Beal continued to struggle with his shot of the night ( 11 points on 4-12 shooting) his defense was much improved from what he had been displaying this series. He, combined with the brilliant defense game by John Wall, held Thomas to only 13 points on eight shots respectively. The were in his chest every second he was on the floor, crowding his space making it difficult to find a rhythm. Washington also forced Boston into 16 turnovers (Marcus Smart having eight himself) and out rebounded them 50-38.
Thanks to a 22-0 run that spanned from the late first quarter to the early second, Washington was able to keep their foot on the pedal. They seemed to have learned from past mistakes as they expanded their lead to as much as 30. Even in the two losses in Boston, John Wall as been nothing short of amazing. Coming off a 40 point, 13 assist Game 2, Wall followed that up with 24 points and eight assists. This performance but Wall in a class of his own:
— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) May 5, 2017
Otto Porter Jr. had his career playoff high 19 points, hitting his first seven shots, while Marcin Gortat finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds respectively. Washington’s bench was a huge factor in the game as well. Through the first two games, not one player had a positive plus/minus ratio. On this night however, every bench player (that regularly plays) had a positive ratio, led by Bojan Bogdanivc with 19 points. For Boston, Al Horford was the high man with 16 points, with Jae Crowder not to far behind with 14 points.
Washington has yet to lose at home in these playoffs and will look to extend that streak and even the series at two games a piece on Sunday, May 7 at 6:30 P.M EST.