Wizards

Quick Links

Takeaways from Wizards' thrilling victory in Game 6 vs. Boston Celtics

Takeaways from Wizards' thrilling victory in Game 6 vs. Boston Celtics

They wore all-black attire in Friday’s attempted closeout of the Wizards at Verizon Center. The Boston Celtics, however, were turned away a bit red-faced as the ploy backfired and John Wall had the last laugh as his three-pointer with 3.5 seconds left won it 92-91.

The home team has won every game in this East semifinal that returns to TD Garden for a Game 7 on Monday to determine who meets the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Boston erased a 10-point first-half deficit, led by 87-82 in the final two minutes after a quick explosion by Isaiah Thomas and the Wizards tied it after a pair of stops on a three-pointer from Bradley Beal and free throws from Wall with 41.2 seconds left.

RELATED: WALL CELEBRATES WIN ON SCORER'S TABLE

The Wizards are 6-0 at home in the postseason.

Wall (26 points, eight assists) was listless for most of three quarters, Marcin Gortat (four points, 13 rebounds) was in early foul trouble and Otto Porter (36 minutes) went scoreless. as he missed all five of his attempts.

Like the Wizards in Games 1 and 2 when they had victory in hand in Boston, the Celtics wilted down the stretch.

This could’ve been the third Game 6 semifinal elimination in four years for Wall, Gortat, Porter and Beal (33 points, five assists).

But after Avery Bradley (27 points) made the go-ahead jumper, Beal responded with a drive by Kelly Olynyk to tie the score at 89 and set the stage for the finish.

Wall began shooting 1-for-9 but caught fire with three consecutive field goals, including a three-pointer, to tie the score at 50 in the third quarter. He scored 13 of his points in the third. Beal scored 13 in the fourth.

Then it was Beal who came alive to repeatedly beat the Celtics’ slower defenders off the dribble to get to the rim in the fourth.

Bradley, Thomas (27 points, seven assists) and Al Horford (20 points, six rebounds) weren’t enough for Boston to get over the hump.

A pair of foul shots from Jae Crowder (10 points, seven rebounds, eight assists) tied the score at 82 in the final four minutes. Horford’s difficult bank shot with 7.7 seconds left put the Celtics ahead 91-89.

The dislike between the teams made this a game the Wizards believed going in they couldn’t lose no matter the circumstances.

“It factors into it a little bit. I think it gets the fans more involved than anything,” Beal said before tipoff. “You get a little bit more edge, you can yell at them a little bit more, kind of disrupt them. I don’t know what it is. We don’t like each other. We both want to win. It’s competitive. It’s fun to me. I enjoy it. This is how hoops should be.”

It’ll last one more game.

[RELATED: Celtics players arrive at Game 6 against Wizards wearing all black]

--The Wizards went without a field goal in the last 4:10 of the second quarter. Wall didn’t have a point or an assist in the eight minutes he played. The Wizards went from a 40-30 led to trailing 42-41 at halftime.

--Defense is what got the Wizards back on top after trailing throughout the third quarter. They had multiple blocks to begin the fourth and consecutive baskets from Beal put them ahead 70-69 with 9:45 left. It was defense that got them the stops late, turning over Thomas who had a game-high five giveaways.

--Gortat picked up two fouls and had to leave the game. When he re-entered at 7:32 of the second, it took him just five seconds to pick up his third foul on a closeout of Thomas. He screened for Wall in the lane with 5:51 left in the third quarter and picked up his fourth foul. Coach Scott Brooks, however, stayed with Gortat in the lineup. His screen-setting and four offensive rebounds got the Wizards the looks they needed to close.

--Neither team shot the ball well from three-point range, but that didn’t make either bashful. Through three quarters, the Wizards were 5-for-24 and Celtics shot 11-for-35. Beal has been less than 30% for the playoffs and shot 1-for-8. He didn’t make any of his threes in Game 5.

--One of Ian Mahinmi’s strengths is supposed to be his ability to defend but he remained indecisive in closing out Horford at the three-point line and paid for it. Also he came up to trap Thomas to help Wall on the pick-and-roll, got too high and allowed the 5-9 point guard to split it. Mahinmi then picked up his fourth foul to stop the layup.

--Thomas picked up his fourth foul trying to defend Bojan Bogdanovic (four points) in the paint. Thomas stayed in the game, and though he’s usually a defensive liability he was even more of one as he was more concerned (and rightly so) with being on the floor in crunch time. The Wizards’ strategy to contain him worked again as he shot just 8-for-24 from the field.

--Both benches were limited as the Wizards got just 13 from theirs led by Ian Mahinmi (six points). Boston only got five points, with Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier going scoreless and combining to shoot 0-for-8.

[RELATED: Alex Ovechkin, Nationals players turn out to support Wizards in Game 6]

Quick Links

Nuggets player Nikola Jokic bumps Scott Brooks in bizarre, costly mistake

usatsi_10365426.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Nuggets player Nikola Jokic bumps Scott Brooks in bizarre, costly mistake

So, this is a weird way to end a basketball game.

The Wizards were up just two points on the Denver Nuggets with :32 seconds left on Monday night when talented third-year center Nikola Jokic made a mistake that may have cost Denver a win. During a timeout, Jokic bumped shoulders with Wizards head coach Scott Brooks. Brooks was immediately incensed and Jokic was awarded a technical.

It was a bizarre moment. Watch it here:

Bradley Beal hit the technical free throw, then sank a layup on the next possession. Jokic made dumb mistake, whether it was intentional or not, and the Wizards capitalized in a 109-104 win.

Naturally, the Wizards were surprised by what went down.

“That’s something you don’t do," John Wall said. "No matter what’s going on between players and teammates. That’s something you don’t do to a coach. That’s like me calling a coach a certain name. Hopefully he apologizes to [Brooks], but luckily we got the win.”

Both Brooks and Jokic said it wasn't on purpose.

“It was an awkward, weird situation. I don’t think he did it on purpose but it happened," Brooks said. "I moved on and the referee had to do what he had to do and move on. But I never had that happened before.”

“I’m sorry because I put my team in a bad position,” Jokic said.

Jokic's excuse was that he was trying to look at the score. You be the judge.

[RELATED: WALL EXPLAINS WOLF SEASON, ITS CONNECTION TO MICHAEL JACKSON]

Quick Links

Wizards stay unbeaten, take out Nuggets to begin road trip

usatsi_10365018.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Wizards stay unbeaten, take out Nuggets to begin road trip

The Washington Wizards beat the Denver Nuggets 109-104 on Monday night at the Pepsi Center. Here's analysis of what went down.

Jokic bumped Brooks: A strange moment happened in the final minute that helped change the course of this game. Nuggets center Nikola Jokic bumped Wizards head coach Scott Brooks during a timeout, earning a technical foul with :32 seconds left. The Wizards were up just two points, but Bradley Beal hit a free throw and then a layup on the ensuing possession to give the Wizards a five-point lead and essentially seal the win.

Here is the play. It's not something you see very often:

Porter may be taking another leap: Otto Porter (17 points, 10 rebounds, four steals) was a standout in the first two games because of his hot starts and that continued on Monday. Porter came out rolling with 12 points in his first 15 minutes. He made it look easy with his midrange game, consistently knocking down 15 to 20 foot jumpers. 

Porter clearly looks more assertive and confident, showing no hesitation particularly early in games. The Wizards saw John Wall and Bradley Beal quickly get much better after signing their max deals and Porter looks intent on following their lead. If he can achieve consistency in dropping 15+ points per game while doing all the things he already does, the Wizards could reach new heights.

Backup point guard a positive: Yeah, you read that right. For as much trouble as the Wizards have had solving the backup point guard position, all was right on Monday night. Tim Frazier had easily his best game since joining the Wizards after going scoreless in his first two outings. His first made shot as a member of the Wizards was a buzzer-beater at the end of the first quarter from about 35 feet out.

Frazier lit a spark with 10 points, so did Tomas Satoransky. After not playing in the Wizards' first two games, he checked in late in the second quarter and immediately hit a hook shot and a three. Satoransky is on the outside of the rotation looking in, but he made the most of a brief opportunity on this particular night.

Those two guys helped buoy Wall (19 points, 12 assists) and Beal (20 points, five rebounds). Any time pressure can be taken off of them is a good thing.

Jokic is legitimate: We don't see much of Nuggets center Jokic on the East Coast and he didn't score a single point in his last game before playing the Wizards, but on Monday Jokic showed that he is the real deal. The guy came out swinging with 12 points on 5-for-5 from the field in his first eight minutes. By halftime he had 16 points, five rebounds and three assists. There are so many good, young big men these days that Jokic gets overlooked, but he does just about everything well. Jokic finished with 29 points in 35 minutes.

Smith still out: Jason Smith didn't play in this one as he missed his second straight game with a sprained right shoulder. Considering Markieff Morris (sports hernia surgery) is also out, meaning the Wizards are missing both of their power forwards, this undefeated start is no small feat. The Wizards are 3-0 for the fourth time in team history and the first time since 2005. The other two times they did so were the 1978-79 season and the 1974-75 season. Both of those years they lost in the NBA Finals. Thanks to a Raptors loss on Monday, the Wizards are the only remaining undefeated team in the East.

Up next: The Wizards move on to Los Angeles to play the Lakers at the Staples Center. That means Wall vs. Lonzo Ball. The game tips at 10:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

[RELATED: WOLF SEASON HAS MICHAEL JACKSON CONNECTION]