The Wizards shortened their rotation in Game 7 on Monday night, as Scott Brooks opted to ride his starters for heavy minutes in a do-or-die situation with their season on the line. In the view of Celtics guard Marcus Smart, that was a big reason why John Wall lost steam.
Wall went scoreless in the fourth quarter despite finishing with 18 points and 11 assists. He logged 44 minutes and shot 8-for-23, including 1-for-8 from three.
Smart saw a tired player with little left to give.
"His legs were just gone," Smart said, according to MassLive.com. "He took [eight] 3s and hit one. We played them at their place, he hit a couple, the game-winner."
Smart went on to say that the Celtics coaching staff was sensing Wall's fatigue and told them to take advantage of it.
"That's what we just kept telling our guys, our coaching staff kept telling us, 'Just keep playing. Make sure he sees two or three. He's going to wear down. In Game 7, legs are gone.' And it does play a role and a big factor," Smart said.
Wall's primary backup, Brandon Jennings, logged just six minutes. Meanwhile, Wall's backcourt mate Bradley Beal played 46 minutes.
It's hard to blame the Wizards for using Wall and Beal more than normal given the circumstances, but the Celtics feel like they were able to capitalize because of it.