Physical Wizards claw back against Celtics
Washington (AFP) – John Wall scored 24 points as the Washington Wizards trimmed the deficit in their NBA Eastern Conference playoff series against Boston on Thursday with a 116-89 victory.
The Wizards seized control of the contest with a 22-0 scoring run in the first quarter.
Although they never trailed, there was plenty of tension, with eight technical fouls handed out and Washington’s Kelly Oubre Jr. ejected in the first half for a flagrant foul. Washington’s Brandon Jennings and Boston’s Terry Rozier were also ejected after receiving two technicals.
After failing to hang onto double-digit leads in the first two games of the second-round series in Boston, the Wizards avoided a letdown on their home court, pushing the lead to as many as 30 points in the second half.
Otto Porter and Bojan Bogdanovic scored 19 points apiece for the Wizards as six Washington players scored in double digits.
The Wizards will try to level the series when they host game four on Sunday.
Isaiah Thomas, who scored 53 points in Boston’s 129-119 overtime win on Tuesday, was held to 13 points on 3-of-8 shooting.
The Celtics, led by Al Horford’s 19 points, shot 35.1 percent from the field and were never closer than 10 points in the second half.
But the real damage came earlier. With the game tied at 12-12, the Wizards held the Celtics scoreless for more than five minutes, hitting seven of nine shots in that span as they took a 39-17 lead after the first quarter.
Washington were up 45-24 early in the second quarter when Boston’s Kelly Olynyk was whistled for a hard foul on Oubre. Reacting to the aggressive hit, Oubre charged and shoved the big man to the ground while also making contact with an official.
Wizards center Ian Mahinmi, back from a calf strain that had sidelined him since April 10, and Boston’s Jonas Jerebko were handed technical fouls for a first-half skirmish.
Jennings and Rozier were both ejected in the fourth quarter after each received two technical fouls. Celtics coach Brad Stevens and Wizards coach Scott Brooks were also whistled for technical fouls.