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The Boston Celtics took game one against the Washington Wizards in the TD Garden, 123-111. Isaiah Thomas led all scorers with 33 points, accompanied by vital performances from the C's starters Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, and Al Horford. Crowder finally found the range, going 6-for-8 from three, Bradley hit huge shots and helped make enormous stops on the defensive end, and Horford was everywhere, almost grabbing a triple-double, falling only a rebound shy.

The Wizards were led by Bradley Beal and John Wall, but lost Markieff Morris to an ankle injury midway through the second quarter. Beal was the highest scorer for Washington, putting in 27 points, and Wall notched 20 along with 16 assists. Marcin Gortat logged a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds, but couldn't fill the hole Morris left when he limped to the locker room before halftime.

C's take a 1-0 lead in the Eastern conference semi-finals. Win their fifth straight with the victory on Sunday afternoon.

First quarter:

The first quarter did not start well for the Celtics. Washington came out hot, with Marcin Gortat quickly putting in a hook shot to take the lead. Gortat dominated early on, finding a way to play a hand in nearly every single play for the first few minutes. Whether it was an offensive rebound, an assist, or the basket himself, he was a huge cog in the run that put the Wizards up 16-0 in the first four minutes.

It wasn't until about the eight minute mark that Isaiah Thomas drew the foul shooting the three to put a point on the board for Boston.




Next possession, the C's got the first field goal, after Marcus Smart stripped John Wall and found Bradley down court for the fastbreak layup.

Then, on the defensive end, Isaiah seemed to take an elbow to the jaw and actually lost one of his front teeth... but he stayed in the game and it actually seemed to get him going?







Scott Brooks called a timeout, and out of the TO came KO. Kelly Olynyk went straight at Bojan Bogdonovic and generated some much needed offense for the Celtics from all over the court. But the Wizards weren't just going to roll over. The other Kelly on the court, Kelly Oubre Jr., kept the Wizards foot on the gas and he rattled home two threes from both wings in response to Olynyk's buckets.

The Celtics were able to surge back to stay relevant in the first, but let the Wizards shoot 61% from the field and trailed 38-24 after 12.




Second quarter:

The first quarter was exclusively Isaiah and Kelly. The two combined for 22 of the C's 24. But Jae Crowder didn't want to be left out of the scoring column and opened up the second quarter with a three from the left wing. That made it an 11 point game.

That's when the C's defense started to perk up. The Wizards couldn't drive in and do whatever they wanted in the paint anymore, and the next possession for the Celtics, Smart found Al Horford in stride on his way to the basket for an easy layup. C's are back within single digits.

That was a sign of things to come from Boston. Suddenly, they were able to find daylight in the paint, and Kelly Olynyk spun in a layup forcing Scott Brooks to call the timeout. But that didn't stop the C's. Marcus Smart went straight at Bogdonovic in the post, and got the whistle on the turnaround jumper from the free throw line. He only converted one layup.

Just a bit later, he made up for missing that free throw by drilling a three with eight and a half to go, and the Celtics were back in the ball game.

That was a 13-2 run to open up the second quarter. John Wall came back with a floater to maintain the lead for the time being, but a few possessions later, Jae Crowder nailed the three and it was a tie game, 7:41 to go in the first half.

But a scary moment for Wizards fans after that, as Markieff Morris went up for the mid-range jumper, and came down on Al Horford's foot. He got the whistle but was pulled after the free throw and hobbled to the locker room.

Cue Isaiah Thomas. The little guy returned with his tooth back in, and immediately made his impact felt with a phenomenal assist to Marcus in the lane, and the C's were within one.




Terry Rozier also had a great second quarter, especially on the glass, grabbing six rebounds in six minutes. He also had a highlight after grabbing the blocked Crowder three-attempt and putting it in as the shot clock expired, but the Wizards answered back with their own highlight/lowlight as John Wall airballed two shots, but Otto Porter picked it up off the miss and put in an easy layup off the glass.

Bradley tied it up again at 49 with about 4:30 to go and the C's battled with the Wizards for the rest of the quarter, but went into the locker room down five, 64-59 Washington.

Third quarter:

The third was more of the same for both teams. The C's came in and Al Horford opened up the second half with a dunk, and soon the game was tied again.

The Celtics defense looked rejuvenated, and the ball finally started to roll their way.

Misses bounced to the C's, and second (and even third... and fourth...) chances gave Boston their first lead of the game with 6:55 on the clock. That came on a sequence where Bradley missed the transition three, Crowder fumbled the putback, Bradley couldn't put in that miss, and then tracked it down on the wing before finding Crowder in the corner where he sank the trey.







Then on a fastbreak by the Wizards, Wall found Oubre who flushed down the transition dunk to tie it up. Crowder answered back with another three, this time from the right wing. Celtics up 3, 76-73.

That momentum kept rolling for the C's as Isaiah flew down the floor and then stopped on a dime to sink the 8 footer. Then a slew of turnovers from both teams saw Bradley pull up for an uncontested three, swish it home and the Celtics pushed their lead to seven, 81-74.




The energy became contagious, Isaiah started knocking down shot after shot, and Jae continued to feel the range, and suddenly Boston was up 11.

Two minutes left in the third, the C's force a shot clock violation, and looked to push the lead even further. Cue Avery Bradley from the baseline, 13 point lead.

Then Marcus Smart rejected John Wall worse than a promposal gone wrong and on the inbounds, the Wizards turned it over for the eighth time in the second half.




Celtics headed into the break up 15, 95-80.

Fourth quarter:

The Wizards came out angry in the fourth. Quickly trimming the 15 point deficit to 11 in the opening minutes of the final frame, forcing Stevens to call a quick timeout after an alley-oop by Jason Smith

The C's had only seven turnovers through the first three quarters but three early on in the fourth, and Washington kept finding a way to score. Seven point game with 9:15 to go and the Celtics pick up their fourth foul of the quarter, and Smith found his way to the line with a chance to make it a five point game with 9:09 left.

He missed the first, but sank the second and the Celtics needed a basket. The starters were back in for Boston, and Crowder missed a three from the corner. But finally with just under eight left, Isaiah found the bottom of the net for the first Boston basket in the fourth quarter with a soft layup. Bradley followed up the next time down with a deep two.

But the Wizards answered big time as Bogdonovic pulled up from three and drilled the basket and got the whistle with a chance for a four-point-play. He converted, and it was a four point game.

After a post-up by Horford, Bogdonovic pulled up from the other wing and he was on fire. Scott Brooks seemed to decide to run through him, and he drew the foul from the top of the arc on Terry Rozier.

Who knew it was a shootout between Horford and Bogdonovic? Horford took a feed from Isaiah and swished a huge three from straight on, seven point lead again.

How about some time for Jaylen Brown? Stevens seemed to think it was a good idea and he cashed in from the left corner to give the C's a 10 point lead.

Suddenly, it was a sharpshooting duel. Brown's three lit the fuse for treys. Beal got the lucky roll, and then Brown assisted on a three for Crowder. But Beal came off a screen and sank another, and it was back to seven.

The rookie was making huge plays. The three, assist, and then a clutch rebound that turned into a loose ball foul. He was responsible for almost every point in the two minutes prior.

About two minutes to play, and the C's effectively stepped on the throat of the Wizards. After Otto Porter cut through the defense for an easy two, Bradley drilled a stepback three as the shot clock rang out and then swiped the ball from John Wall on the other end that he tossed forward to Jae Crowder who reversed it home for a 5-point swing.

That seemed to seal it. Brown and Wall exchanged baskets, but the deficit was too large for the Wizards, and the Celtics finished it off, winning 123-111.

Follow Topher Lane on Twitter, @Topher_L. Photo credit: Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports.

Topher Lane 4/30/2017 03:41:00 PM Edit
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