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Celtics exploited Wizards' 3-point defense to historic degree

Celtics exploited Wizards' 3-point defense to historic degree

In order to come back from a 16-0 deficit and ultimately win by 12 points in Game 1, the Boston Celtics used a three-point barrage and once they got going the Wizards just couldn't stop them. Add it all up and Boston put in some historic numbers and that reminded us of the greatest press conference rant in NBA history.

Here are some notes on their threes in Game 1...

*19 threes for Boston tied a Celtics playoff franchise record. Any playoff mark in Celtics' history is more impressive than for most franchises.

*The other time they hit 19 threes was May 3, 2002 vs. the Sixers. That ended Philly's season and, as former CSN researcher Mike Lynch reminded us on Twitter, four days later Allen Iverson had his famous rant "talking about practice."

*This was just the 13th time in NBA history a team has hit 19 threes or more in a playoff game. The most ever was 25 by the Cavs against the Hawks on May 4, 2016.

*The 19 threes were the most ever allowed by a Wizards or Bullets team in the playoffs.

[RELATED: Dirty or dangerous? Horford injured Beal two years ago, too]

*The Celtics fell one three short of the most the Wizards have ever allowed in any game in franchise history. They gave up 20 to the Knicks on April 9, 2013 and also to the Warriors on Feb. 3, 2016.

*Washington has never made 19 threes in a game themselves. The most threes in Washington history was 18 on Nov. 6, 2013 against the Sixers.

*Celtics forward Jae Crowder hit a career-high six threes, his most for any game in the regular season or playoffs. Isaiah Thomas tied a playoff career-high with five threes made.

*Boston effectively exploited what became a major weakness for the Wizards this season. They were 10th in opponent's three-point percentage (35.3%) before the All-Star break, but 29th in the NBA after after the break.

*The Celtics were third in both three-pointers made per game (12.0) and attempts per game (33.4) in the regular season.

The Celtics like to shoot threes, while the Wizards have trouble stopping them. In Game 1, that tipped the game in Boston's favor.

Stats via Basketball Reference

[RELATED: Paul Pierce retires from NBA after legendary career]

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Rui Hachimura's learning curve can be seen on offense late in games

Rui Hachimura's learning curve can be seen on offense late in games

WASHINGTON -- Wizards forward Rui Hachimura has translated so smoothly to the NBA level that it is easy to forget he is still just a rookie with only 31 games under his belt. For a reminder of his inexperience, just look at the fourth quarter.

Hachimura tends to start games hot on the offensive end, like he did on Friday in the Wizards' loss to the Cavaliers when he had eight points by the end of the first quarter. But he scored only nine points after that and went scoreless through seven minutes in the fourth.

That has been a consistent theme for him this season. He averages 4.8 points in the first quarter shooting 48.4 percent from the field, 4.0 points in the second shooting 57 percent and then 4.3 points on 47.9 percent in the third. In the fourth quarter those numbers plummet to 1.9 points on average and 33.3 percent shooting.

Basically, Hachimura often comes out on fire but then slows down considerably once opponents make midgame changes. Against the Cavs, Hachimura said it was because they disrupted passing lanes.

"They are an NBA team. They just adjusted. They didn't want me to catch the ball. They didn't let me just catch the ball. I think that's why," he said.

The Wizards have seen teams switch defensive match-ups midgame to counter Hachimura. Sometimes taking away his midrange jumper will be prioritized. The Cavs seemed to find success playing Hachimura more physically in the second half, bumping him away from his comfort zones.

Over time, Hachimura can improve his ability to sustain scoring throughout games simply by becoming more versatile. The more consistent he becomes at making three-point shots and creating off the dribble, the more difficult it will be for teams to stop him. As long as he keeps improving, he will reach a point where he can stay ahead of the defense with a multitude of counters.

Developing a more reliable outside game and more dribble combinations will take some time. For now, Hachimura believes the key to him keeping up his scoring pace involves working with his teammates, particularly star shooting guard Bradley Beal.

"I just gotta connect more with Brad. Brad is the one everybody is trying to guard. Screens and pick-and-rolls with him, that kind of stuff will help me," Hachimura said.

Hachimura's game against the Cavaliers reflected how the team played overall. After scoring 41 points in the first quarter, they managed only 42 in the second half. They blew a 16-point lead and lost, 113-108.

So, he wasn't alone. And those rooting for Hachimura to round out his game should feel good about his odds. He has a relentless work ethic and is often staying after practice to go over film with player development coach Dave Adkins.

Hachimura is perceptive and driven to improve. In order to take the next step as a scorer, he will have to get better at closing games.

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Tristan Thompson calls Bradley Beal one of the best shooting guards in the league

Tristan Thompson calls Bradley Beal one of the best shooting guards in the league

Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson spoke with reporters after the team's victory over the Wizards Friday night, praising Bradley Beal, who was snubbed from All-Star consideration this season despite averaging nearly 30 points-per-game.

The Cavaliers held the Wizards to just 21 points in the fourth quarter, and Thompson said their main focus was neutralizing Beal.

"The Wizards are really good offensively when they are making their runs," Thompson said postgame. "Bradley Beal is an All-Star in our league. One of the top-three two-guards in our league right now, so we were just trying to make it tough for him."

Beal finished the night with 26 points, but struggled from the floor. Beal shot 9-for-28 from the floor and the Cavaliers' stingy defense was clearly a factor.

Beal and the Wizards will have a chance to get back on track on Sunday night at Capital One Arena when they host the Chicago Bulls for the final time this season.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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