Evenly matched Wizards-Celtics series could go the distance
Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) threads past Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder (99) on a drive to the basket during the second quarter of a second-round NBA playoff series basketball game in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Taking a 2-0 lead heading to Washington to play the next two games is a tough task for the Boston Celtics. It definitely won’t be a walk in the park. Remember that the Wizards came racing off to start game one, and it went to overtime in game two, so expect the next games in DC to be close ones too.
I personally didn’t expect Isaiah Thomas to play at this kind of level. I mean seriously, would you ever think that a 60th overall draft pick would turn out to be one of the best players in the world? What Thomas has done for the Boston Celtics franchise is just beyond imagination. And it’s not just his playoff averages of 27.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game that stand out. Thomas involves his teammates in the offense, making sure they thrive within their system. Norming 5.9 assists per game, Bradley ensures that his other starters get to shine. As a result, Avery Bradley, Al Horford, and Jae Crowder are all averaging more than 13 points in the postseason.
As a whole, I never realized that there was so much potential in his teammates. Jae Crowder was a role player in Dallas, but he has since settled in and become a key piece for the Celtics (13.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg in playoffs). Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart were Celtics draft picks, key pieces of their rebuild, and are now reaping the benefits of playing alongside a top-flight point guard. And did you ever think that journeyman Gerald Green would have a huge impact other than his flashy dunks appearing on highlight reels? Together with Horford’s big man passing, the Celtics have rebounded nicely from their 0-2 postseason start against the Chicago Bulls.
Now shifting to the Washington Wizards…
John Wall has just been superb. He is also the perfect example of ‘nagbubuhat ng team.’ Carrying the load for his team by scoring close to 30 points a game is no joke in the playoffs. He and backcourt mate Bradley Beal average almost 40 minutes in the postseason, and for good reason. Wall is the perfect guy to give the ball to in clutch situations, just like Isaiah.
Don’t count out the Wizards just set, because they’ve assembled a stellar supporting cast around Wall as well. Forwards Markieff Morris and Otto Porter Jr. are both averaging 11.0 points, plus a combined 11.9 rebounds. Marcin Gortat gives the team some rugged toughness on both ends of the court, and just might be the best center remaining in the East. X-factors for the Wizards? Bench dudes Kelly Oubre Jr. and Bojan Bogdanovic, who help space the floor off the bench.
Match lang when you compare the two squads’ lineups. And even though the Wizards are down 0-2, you can’t forget the fact that they came out strong to start both those games. Simply put, both teams have the firepower, and can play great D versus each other. Both also have superstar point guards whom you can give the ball to in tight situations. Simply put, they’re evenly matched.
That’s why looking ahead to games three and four, you shouldn’t discount the possibility of the Wizards taking advantage of their home court, and tying up the series at 2-2. In front of their fans, it wouldn’t be a shock for Washington to knot things anew, making it a virtual best-of-three series. With each game, the stakes get higher, and the performances from the superstar guards and the rest of their respective casts become more spectacular. Who knows? Maybe we’ll even get that special ending to a series: A game seven.
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