The Washington Wizards and their fans are riding high today. For the second straight game, they completely embarrassed the Boston Celtics to tie this Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup at 2. The game included a 26-0 run in third quarter which was about as bad as it gets. The Wizards shot 53% from the field and out rebounded the Celtics 54-39. After four games, we have a pretty good idea how teams matchup in a playoff series and that surely is the case here.
Here’s the reality. The Wizards are a more talented team than the Celtics. The Celtics surely have a deeper bench, but the Wizards have more high-end talent. The Celtics top three of Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, and Avery Bradley is solid, but after that there’s a huge drop off. The Jae Crowder crowd will disagree. Their guy is now 27 for 92 shooting 3’s in the past two playoff seasons. That’s 29%. That’s an average of six 3’s attempted a game. Why is a player shooting 29% shooting six 3’s a game?! OK, there’s the Crowder rant for the day. He’ll likely be moved this summer and we won’t have to debate his impact for the Celtics anymore.
The Celtics are getting beaten down low because they simply have no one besides Horford who can play the position especially on the defensive end. The Celtics have managed to make Robin Lopez and Marcin Gortat look like All Star centers this postseason. Amir Johnson and Kelly “The Bad Boy” Olynyk have been brutal defensively. On a positive note, the Celtics seemed to have found something in Terry Rozier. He’s been very consistent throughout the playoffs and his 16 points and 7 rebounds last night should earn him more playing time in Game 5.
The Celtics and Wizards will now play a Best of 3 starting on Wednesday Night at TD Garden. Home court has been a major factor as each team has won every game at home. One could make the argument that the Wizards should have won Game 2, but they didn’t. Why? Well, they crashed under pressure of the big game. See, the Wizards are front runners. If they get a big lead, they can blow teams out. When the pressure is on they turn into the early 2000’s Indianapolis Colts. John Wall plays the Peyton Manning role. The Celtics have been thriving in these situations in the playoffs. The Wizards have more talent, but the Celtics have more heart and play better under pressure…and that means a lot in the playoffs.
The Garden is going to be loud on Wednesday…and if those goes 7, it’s going to get even louder. The crowd isn’t going to be on the Wizards side. The calls may not be on their side either as we know how this works in the NBA. The Celtics are going to feed off the Garden’s energy and take this series in 7 games. The Wizards simply can’t handle the pressure.
Celtics win in 7 next Monday night and then will head to the Eastern Conference Finals. The following night they’ll be the favorites to get the #1 pick.
Yet, there are still fans questioning Danny Ainge…