After a timely Isaiah Thomas 3-pointer, the Celtics had a 5 point lead with 1:24 left on the clock. Boston simply had to retain a two-possession lead and wrap up the series for good. Critics and pundits looked at this Eastern Conference Semi-Final as one filled with bad blood. Through all the adversity, Boston stuck with the Wizards and promised not to go away. The Celtics had the golden opportunity to close out Washington for the season. It looked that way up until John Wall pulled up for a 27-foot dagger with 4.5 seconds left to send the series to a decisive Game 7.
This, in part with a costly turnover by Thomas at center court, resulted in a 92-91 victory for Washington. This was the first game of the series that was decided by less than ten points. Boston was not able to win any of their games in Washington territory, as all their wins came at home. Fortunately for Celtics’ fans, Game 7 will be played in Boston. This will be the 30th Game 7 in Celtics franchise history, they are 21-8 in those games.
Isaiah Thomas scored 27 points while assisting on 7 shots. Avery Bradley had another impressive night scoring 27 points as well while shooting 56% from the field. As a team, the Celtics went cold from deep, making just 11 of their 35 3-PT attempts (.314). Al Horford also had a solid night as he scored 20 points and added 7 total rebounds and 3 assists. John Wall put up 26 points, 8 assists, and 2 total rebounds.
The numbers do not necessarily indicate a blowout by any means. In fact, by quick glance this game could have gone either way in terms of the final box score. The story behind this is that the Celtics have struggled to hold onto leads late in games. Boston, which won Game 5 at home by 22 points, was leading 69-66 entering the fourth quarter in Game 6. The final period was a back-and-forth battle throughout, featuring six ties and nine lead changes. The Celtics had every opportunity to put this series to rest, but could not get the job done late on the road. The host has won all 10 games between these two teams this season — four in the regular season and six in the playoffs. This trend will have to continue if the Celtics wish to keep their postseason run alive.
Of course, the lucky winner of Game 7 has the task of dealing with Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. The defending champions will have over a week of rest by the time the Conference Finals starts, so whoever they play will be at an immediate disadvantage.
Whether it be Thomas losing his tooth in Game 1 or Kelly Oubre being ejected after shoving Kelly Olynyk in Game 3, this series has been memorable. Unpredictably memorable.
Game 7, however, will crown a winner.
Tip-off is Monday, 8PM ET.