The Boston Celtics were leading 91-89 and were just 3.5 seconds away from winning Game 6 and advancing past the Wizards to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Except Wall wasn’t ready to start his offseason yet.
After Al Horford banked home a go-ahead shot with 7.7 seconds remaining, Washington took a timeout and advanced the ball up to mid-court.
At first, it appeared that Otto Porter Jr. wasn’t going to be able to inbound the ball as Boston was covering all options, but he finally found Wall cutting up the sideline and got the pass off before having to burn another timeout.
Wall’s next steps were very simple. He dribbled twice with his left hand, rose up from beyond the arc, and drilled a deep, go-ahead 3-pointer despite having Avery Bradley’s right hand in his face.
At this point, with 3.5 seconds remaining, the Celtics took their final timeout. Al Horford tossed a long pass to Kelly Olynyk under the basket, but the big man was fouled by Kelly Oubre before he could catch and shoot.
The Celtics had one more chance with 1.7 seconds left. This time they looked to Isaiah Thomas.
With Jae Crowder inbounding the ball, IT streaked from Boston’s backcourt to the 3-point line and received the pass. He hoisted up a wild, game-winning attempt, but it caromed off the backboard and clanked off the rim.
Key Celtics Player
Through his first 31 playoff appearances, Avery Bradley never reached the 25-point plateau once.
Now, he’s eclipsed that mark twice in his last two games.
Bradley notched a postseason career-high 29 points during Game 5 Wednesday night, and nearly matched that total again Friday night in Game 6.
The veteran guard tallied 27 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field, tying him with Isaiah Thomas for the team-high in scoring.
Bradley also tied a playoff career-high with four steals, which equaled Washington’s team total in the takeaway department.
Unfortunately, Bradley’s efforts weren’t enough to drive the Celtics to the win; however, on the bright side, he’s picked the perfect time to catch fire heading into Monday’s series-deciding Game 7 matchup.
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Box Score Nuggets
– The Celtics had three starters reach 20 points – Avery Bradley (27), Isaiah Thomas (27) and Al Horford (20).
– Washington’s backcourt of Bradley Beal and John Wall combined for 59 points, led by Beal’s 33.
– Jae Crowder dished out a playoff career-high eight assists.
– Washington committed 12 turnovers, while Boston coughed up the rock 10 times.
– The Celtics made just four shots during the opening frame, tying their season low for field goals in a quarter.
– Boston shot 11-of-35 from beyond the arc while Washington shot 5-of-24 from long range.
– The Celtics have now made 10-plus 3-pointers in seven straight playoff games, which is tied for the fourth-longest such streak in NBA history.
– Boston’s bench scored just five points.
– Avery Bradley reached 25-plus points for the second straight game. He had no such efforts during his previous 31 playoff games.
– The Celtics assisted on 25 of their 32 field goals.
– No player had a double-figure plus/minus rating. Marcin Gortat led the contest with a plus-six and Marcus Smart had a game-low minus-eight.
– Gortat also led the game in rebounds with 13.
Quote of the Night
“That’s where legends are born.” – Isaiah Thomas on the opportunity to play in a Game 7
By Taylor C. Snow for Celtics.com
First appeared on NBA.com Global