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Celtics run all over Wizards in Game 5

Celtics' Isaiah Thomas explains that he spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the Wizards defense did in Games 3 and 4. With a blowout in Game 5, looks like he found something.

In the first quarter of Celtics-Wizards Game 5, points scored within seven seconds of Washington attempting a layup – including points scored on those layups themselves:

  • Celtics: 9
  • Wizards: 8

Boston played stout defense at the rim and turned those stops, which often left a Wizard behind the play under Celtics’ basket, into transition points and separated itself early in a 123-101 win Wednesday. The Celtics, who led by 22 midway through the second quarter and were never seriously challenged from there, now lead the second-round series 3-2.

The home team has won each game in the series. Game 6 is Friday in Washington.

When teams up 3-2 in a 2-2-1-1-1 series face a road Game 6, they have won the series 92 percent of the time:

In Game 5, Avery Bradley was the best player on the floor. He scored 25 of his 29 points in the first half and helped stifle John Wall, especially early.

Al Horford (19 points on 8-of-9 shooting, seven assists, six rebounds and three blocks) and Isaiah Thomas (18 points and nine assists) provided plenty of help. Bradley, Horford and Thomas made 9-of-16 3-pointers (56 percent) – and their teammates made 7-of-17 3s (48 percent). Stop their primary scorers, and the Celtics – who had 33 assists – swung the ball to an open shooter.

Neither Wall (21 points on 7-of-17 shooting) nor Bradley Beal (16 points on 7-of-19 shooting) generated enough offense for the Wizards to keep up. For the first time this series, Washington didn’t have a huge run. The Wizards’ best run while keeping Boston scoreless:

  • Game 1: 16-0
  • Game 2: 14-0
  • Game 3: 22-0
  • Game 4: 26-0
  • Game5: 7-0

Credit the Celtics’ transition defense, vastly improved from Games 3 and 4, for shutting down Washington before it got rolling.

The Wizards are 5-0 at home in these playoffs, and perhaps returning to Washington for Game 6 will cure them. But they’re also 1-5 on the road.

Boston, with a 3-2 lead and a home Game 7 if necessary, ought to feel pretty good right now about advancing.