Coming out of halftime of Game 4 on Sunday night, the Celtics appeared to be in control. After a 48-48 tie at the break, the Celtics got five quick points in :50 seconds. They had the momentum.
Within a matter of seconds, everything changed. Washington ignited into a five-minute mushroom cloud of threes, three-point plays and fastbreak wizardry. Just over five minutes later, after trailing by five, the Wizards were up by 21.
It was a 26-0 run and later head coach Scott Brooks described it as "probably our best stretch of basketball" of the season. Somehow, everything clicked for the Wizards and there was nothing that could stop them.
The run began at the 10:41 mark and ended at 4:42 when Al Horford scored an alley-oop layup out of a timeout. That finally stopped the bleeding, but by then it was far too late for Boston.
The Wizards' starting lineup of John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat were on the floor during the 26-0 run and all of them contributed. Beal scored eight points, Wall had seven, Morris had five, Porter four and Gortat had two. The Wizards shot 10-for12 and made eight straight before the Celtics finally scored. Washington also made all four of their free throws.
The Celtics blamed turnovers afterwards for why things slipped away and the numbers back that up. Boston had seven turnovers during that stretch and Isaiah Thomas had three himself.
"We turned the ball over," Thomas said. "And then they got a few offensive rebounds where there were kick out threes, those kill you. That's what happened in the third quarter."
Many of the turnovers during that stretch were forced. The Wizards clamped down and earned a shot clock violation. Wall and Porter each had one steal and Morris had two.
Much of those five minutes was played in the fastbreak and the Celtics committed five fouls as they tried to slow the game down. That allowed both Wall and Beal to earn and-1 calls on layups and each of them hit their free throws.
The Wizards nearly had a 26-0 run in Game 3 when they outscored the Celtics 22-0 during one point in the first half. On Sunday, they became the first team with two runs of 20+ points to zero in the postseason since the 2010-11 Spurs.
Several players were surprised that the number on Sunday reached 26-0. They knew they were playing well, but that well? They were just that locked in.
Morris, however, found some words to described what happened and produced what was quite easily the best quote of the night.
On what was going through his mind during the 26-0 run: "Blow them the f--- out. Just keep pressing them. Go up by 50 if we can. That's the mindset I feel like all of us had."
No need for numbers when you can sum it up that well.