Bos­ton mas­ter home court to take sec­ond round series lead

New Straits Times - - Sport -

THE Bos­ton Celtics con­tin­ued their home court mastery over Wash­ing­ton, tak­ing charge early and go­ing on to beat the Wizards 123-101 on Wed­nes­day to grab a 3-2 lead in the sec­ond round series.

Avery Bradley tal­lied a post­sea­son ca­reer high 29 points in the blowout as Bos­ton can now ad­vance to meet the Cleve­land Cava­liers in the next round with a vic­tory in Wash­ing­ton to­day.

“Ev­ery­one was pre­pared,” said Bradley. “And that’s what it’s all about.”

The Celtics and Wizards have played nine times this year, and the home team have won all nine games. Bos­ton have now won eight straight over­all at the Bos­ton Gar­den over Wash­ing­ton.

The Celtics got on an early 16-0 run and never looked back. Their first quar­ter burst came af­ter the Wizards scored the first four points of the game.

Bradley, who was play­ing with a sore hip, scored 25 points in the first half as the Celtics com­piled a 22-point half­time lead.

“He put his in­juries aside and laced his shoes up and played,” team­mate Isa­iah Thomas said of Bradley. “He was the key to this game at both ends of the floor.”

Bradley hit his last bas­ket with 5:55 left in the third quar­ter and rested in the fourth.

Al Hor­ford fin­ished with 19 points and added seven as­sists and six re­bounds for Bos­ton.

Thomas and Jae Crow­der both scored 18, Thomas with nine as­sists and Crow­der with eight re­bounds. Thomas scored eight con­sec­u­tive points in the fourth with Bradley on the bench.

Thomas said the coach­ing staff did a good job of get­ting them ready for game five.

“We just wanted to im­pose our will,” said Thomas. “The coaches kept say­ing that, ‘Im­pose your will.’ We were the more phys­i­cal team tonight.

“We took what was on the white­board and we put it on the court,”

The Celtics went 16-for-33 from be­yond the arc and be­came the sixth team in NBA his­tory with at least 10 three-point­ers in six straight post­sea­son.

John Wall led the Wizards with 21 points, and Bradley Beal had 16 and Otto Porter added 13.

The Wizard guards com­bined to go just 14 of 36 from the floor, two of seven from three-point range.

“When you give a very good team transition points and break­away points with no­body guard­ing you ... it’s go­ing to be hard to keep up with them,” Wash­ing­ton coach Scott Brooks said. “We had no an­swers for those guys. We’ve done a pretty good job on their best player, but not (a) good enough job on the other guys.”

If the Celtics win to­day, they would open against Cleve­land on Mon­day. If the Bos­ton-Wash­ing­ton series goes seven games, the win­ners meet the Cava­liers next Wed­nes­day.

RE­SULT: 2nd Round Play­offs — Eastern Con­fer­ence: Bos­ton 123 Wash­ing­ton 101 (Best of seven; Bos­ton lead 3-2). AFP


Celtics’ Kelly Olynyk (right) takes a shot with Wizards’ Kelly Oubre Jr. de­fend­ing in their game in Bos­ton on Wed­nes­day.

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