CELTICS RUN INTO WALL

Wash­ing­ton star hits late gamewin­ner to sink Bos­ton

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LOS AN­GE­LES

JOHN Wall nailed a clutch three pointer with three sec­onds re­main­ing to lift the Wash­ing­ton Wizards to a 92-91 win over the Bos­ton Celtics in game six of their NBA play­off se­ries.

Wall’s late game-win­ning shot sets up a de­cid­ing game seven on Mon­day with the win­ner ad­vanc­ing to the Eastern Con­fer­ence fi­nal against the Cleve­land Cava­liers.

Wall said he was mo­ti­vated Fri­day by some games­man­ship on be­half of the Celtic play­ers, who de­cided to come to the Ver­i­zon Cen­ter arena wear­ing all black out­fits.

“Don’t come into my city wear­ing all black talk­ing about it is a fu­neral,” said Wall. “I got too much heart. I put in too much work.”

Wall’s hero­ics came af­ter Al Hor­ford’s jump shot with seven sec­onds left put the top-seeded Celtics ahead 91-89.

Wash­ing­ton’s Bradley Beal had 33 points and Wall scored 26 de­spite shoot­ing nine of 25 from the field.

Isa­iah Thomas and Avery Bradley each scored 27 points for the Celtics. Hor­ford fin­ished with 20 points.

The Wizards’ win con­tin­ues a home court ad­van­tage pat­tern in the sea­son se­ries be­tween the two teams. The teams have played 10 games this sea­son with the home team win­ning each time.

The Wizards also ex­or­cised some elim­i­na­tion-game demons by snap­ping a streak of seven straight elim­i­na­tion game losses at home.

Thomas scored five straight points to put Bos­ton up 87-82 with 94 sec­onds re­main­ing.

Wash­ing­ton coun­tered with the help of a su­perb back­court. Beal drained a shot from three point range and Wall tied the game by hit­ting two free throws with 41 sec­onds left.

Marki­eff Mor­ris had 16 points and 11 re­bounds for Wash­ing­ton.

“That was a heck of a bas­ket­ball game be­tween two teams play­ing very well,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.

The Celtics won games one and two – the first play­off se­ries be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Bos­ton since 1984 – by at least 10 points.

Af­ter the Wizards won games three and four by 27 and 19 points, re­spec­tively, the Celtics roared back with a dom­i­nat­ing 123-101 vic­tory in Bos­ton on Wed­nes­day.

Asked what it means to force a game seven, Wall said, “It is my life. This is what I asked for, down 2-0 to win.”

In game six, Wall con­tin­ued his trend of slow starts. The four­time All-Star missed 11 of 12 field goals Fri­day be­fore hit­ting three in a row in the third. He scored 13 in the pe­riod as Wash­ing­ton en­tered the fourth trail­ing 6966.

“He’s a win­ner. He plays to win,” said Wizards coach Scott Brooks of Wall. “He’s not wor­ried about his stats, he’s wor­ried about win­ning the game.”

Af­ter qui­et­ing talk of a fu­neral on Fri­day with his game win­ner, Wall hopes to put fi­nal nail in the Celtics’ cof­fin on Mon­day.

The win­ner of game seven will tip off in the NBA semi-fi­nal se­ries Wed­nes­day in Cleve­land. AFP

AFP PIC

Wizards’ John Wall tries to score as Celtics’ Amir John­son de­fends in their game on Fri­day.

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