Celtics win overtime thriller over Wizards, 129-119
The Boston Celtics took down the Washington Wizards in an overtime thriller, 129-119. Isaiah Thomas recorded 53 points, putting up more than half of those in just the fourth quarter and overtime. Al Horford also had a great all-around game, with 15 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks.
The Wizards took a huge night from John Wall who picked up 40 points, alongside Markieff Morris who was questionable to play because of his ankle injury he sustained in game one. He picked up 16 points. Every Washington starter scored in double digits, but both Morris and Marcin Gortat fouled out in overtime.
The C's now move to 2-0 in the series against the Wiz, winning their sixth straight playoff game after falling behind on the Bulls, 2-0, in the first round.
That helped the Wizards jump out to an early first quarter lead.
The C's stuck with them through the first few minutes, but Washington started to pull away around two and a half minutes into the game after Isaiah knotted it up at six with his second long-ball. But Wall answered back with a three of his own and found Markieff Morris for another the very next possession.
Boston couldn't overcome that six point deficit for most of the quarter, and Washington pushed the lead to 13 as Jason Smith knocked down a trey just before the buzzer to put the Wiz at an astounding 42 points.
During the break, head coach Brad Stevens seemed to gear up his team to play some defense, considering there was hardly any in the first, and the C's responded exceptionally.
Boston had 9 turnovers in the first 12 minutes, compared to Washington's zero, but it was a flip flop in the second as the C's forced the Wiz to cough it up seven times. That translated to points in transition, and the Celtics clawed back into it on the run, and with some hustle plays by Terry Rozier.
With about 4:30 to go, Rozier sank his first three of the night from the corner, and hit a fader the next time down, and the Celtics were within four.
Less than a minute later, Marcus Smart pulled out a phenomenal reverse under the iron and cut it to two. Boston then tied it on a Horford three from the right wing just after.
But Horford's counterpart, Marcin Gortat, retook the lead for the Wizards with an easy layup, and the Celtics couldn't come back before the halftime horn and the teams went to the locker room, Wizards up 67-64.
Washington came out swinging out of the intermission, being carried by John Wall. Before they could pull away, Marcus Smart tied the game up again with a three from the right wing, but then something sparked in the Wizards and they quickly rattled off a 14-0 run in about three and a half minutes.
Isaiah was able to keep the Celtics in it, but Boston couldn't piece together a run to cut back into the game.
It wasn't until about two minutes left in the third quarter that Jaylen Brown hit up Olynyk on the wing who nailed a three to make it a seven point game. Crowder followed that up by drawing a foul on a drive, and it was a two possession game at five.
Heading into the fourth, the C's trailed the Wizards, 89-84.
Jaylen Brown was quietly contributing, but made a loud play in the beginning of the fourth, hanging in the air as he sank a soft layup to keep it at five.
Less than two minutes later, Wizards are up seven and Kelly Oubre caught the feed from Beal in the corner and drilled the three, with a whistle because of contact under the basket between Smart and Beal. But the refs went to the monitors and decided the contact came before the shot, which was huge for the C's. Not only because it kept it manageable, but because the Wizards didn't end up capitalizing on that possession, but the Celtics did on the other side of the court.
Horford posted up Jason Smith and somehow found the bottom of the net on the hook from the restricted zone, and it was back to five.
Every possession counted now and IT knew it. Following possession Rozier pulled up from deep, but missed badly. Horford scrambled for the rebound and kicked it to Isaiah in the corner who hit the clutch three to bring it to two. Timeout Washington, 95-93.
They call him the king in the fourth for a reason. Same spot, same result. After Beal hit two free throws, Isaiah got it in the right corner again and punished the Wizards for leaving him open, and it was a one point game.
But he wasn't done. Beal continued to be hot for the Wizards and hit a step back, but Isaiah was singing "Anything You Can Do" it seemed because he came right back with a strong drive, flipped it up and in, count it and the foul. Tie game after he hit the free throw.
Momentum was clearly on the Celtics side, and the Wizards looked shaken. Wall tried to pass over the Cs and find Gortat on the baseline, but Bradley easily intercepted it, and sank the three to give the Celtics their biggest lead of the night of three.
Jump to a few minutes later, and the Wizards punched off a quick six point run, turning a one point lead for the C's into a five point deficit. It started with the return of Markieff Morris with about four and a half to go, he sank a mid-range jumper to retake the lead. Then, off a Celtics turnover, Beal came off a screen and hit another jumper, and Morris did it again the next time down, 109-104 Wiz.
Less than three to play, and the Celtics couldn't hit a basket. Bradley missed a floater, Horford grabbed the rebound, and found Crowder on the wing, but he couldn't hit either. Loose ball foul on Horford and Gortat extended the lead to 6 at the free throw line.
2:30 to go, and Thomas decided to take over. Another three for IT, and then some of his best defense all season on John Wall who tried to capitalize on an ISO against the little guy, but ended up heaving a heavily contested, deep three that Rozier collected off the back board. Rozier then took a feed from Isaiah in the corner and tied it up with a clutch trey, 110 a piece.
Skip to the one minute mark, and John Wall drew the foul on Marcus Smart with a chance to take the lead. He missed the first, but was true on the second.
Isaiah then danced around with Morris on the switch and reclaimed the lead for the green. Washington wasn't having it, though, and a defensive lapse left Otto Porter wide open on the right side, and he hit a three to give the Wizards a two-point lead with about :30 left.
Coming out of the timeout, 114-112 Wizards, Isaiah got rejected at the rim by Wall, but kept possession. C's still had a chance to tie or take the lead and Isaiah drew the foul on Gortat on the drive barely missing the and-one.
Tie game at 114 after IT hit the free throws, because what else would he do?
14.4 left, Wizards ball. John Wall slowly dribbled out the clock then drove, pulled up from mid-range but missed, Beal couldn't put it back off the rebound, and it was time for free basketball.
Brad Stevens has said Marcus Smart can go scoreless and he'll still make winning plays for the Celtics, and that's exactly what he did at the start of overtime for the C's. On a missed three from Bradley, Smart came flying in to swipe the rebound from Gortat, and even drew the sixth foul on the big man. Boston couldn't score, but forcing the foul-out on Marcin was huge.
Oubre came down and nailed a three, but then Horford cut it to one, Isaiah retook the lead, and then Bradley swiped it from Wall and finished with a slam in transition to make it a three point game.
That wasn't the end of the run for the Celtics, coming out of the timeout, Isaiah made a smooth drive and put up a soft layup that hung on the rim for just a moment before falling through the net. 5 point lead, 122-117.
That wasn't it for IT. He was unreal. Out of his mind. Nothing could go wrong for the little guy. Near the free throw line, he put up the contested jumper, got slapped on the wrist, and somehow converted for the and-one, and that would basically do it.
Another turnover after a Horford hook shot, and the Celtics win it 129-119.
Follow Topher Lane on Twitter, @Topher_L. Photo credit: Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports.