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Takeaways from Wizards' blowout loss to Boston Celtics in Game 5

Takeaways from Wizards' blowout loss to Boston Celtics in Game 5

BOSTON — Everything the Wizards wanted to avoid to begin Game 5 at TD Garden – turnovers, uncontested shots allowed and an inability to hit their own – took place Wednesday. As a result, they trail the semifinals with the Boston Celtics 3-2 after a 123-101 defeat.

After going up 4-0, the Wizards fell apart as the Celtics hit them with a 16-0 run and led by as many as 22 in the first half. Avery Bradley (29 points) was the engine as Isaiah Thomas (18 points, nine assists) was blanketed and taken out of the offense again.

The Celtics, however, didn't need Thomas the way they relied on him for 53 points in a comeback in overtime to win Game 2 here where the Wizards haven't won since the regular-season finale in 2014.

Jae Crowder (18 points, eight rebounds), Al Horford (19 points, seven assists) and Amir Johnson (eight points, five rebounds) also had good games.

John Wall (21 points), who rebounded in Game 4 after opening 0-for-9 shooting, began 1-for-7 as the Wizards allowed 58% shooting while having an accuracy rate that was 20% less from the field.

Markieff Morris (nine points) wasn’t much of a factor, airballing an open three-point shot, and Otto Porter (13 points) and Marcin Gortat (seven points, 11 rebounds) didn’t do much to help.

The Wizards’ transition defense evaporated as Boston had a 19-14 edge in fast-break points by halftime alone, unable to stop the leakouts for layups and dunks.

While they stuck to Thomas and prevented him from dominating by coming extra bodies to clog the paint, that’s almost all that went right as the Wizards go back to Verizon Center for Game 6 on Friday in hopes of forcing a Game 7 back at TD on Monday.

[RELATED: Celtics fans chant Oubre's name during Game 5]

--The Wizards continued to bottle up Thomas on the perimeter and feed him to the bigs in the middle. Through three quarters he’d only attempted seven shots for 10 points but his teammates made their shots on the extra pass off the Wizards’ scheme. When Horford shot 8-for-9 and even Johnson got into the act with chip shots at the rim going 4-for-5.

--The pronounced size advantage was absent on the boards. After being plus-26 in the previous two wins, the Wizards didn’t create any separation this area as the margin was 48-45 in favor of the Celtics.

--Horford was the rim protection that Boston had lacked all series. In the first half alone he had three blocks at the rim, denying Wall twice on drives to the basket for what appeared to be layups. They still aggressively trapped Beal with the ball and the shooters weren’t able to make them pay for it. The Wizards shot 7-for-29 on threes.

-- In Kelly Oubre’s return from a one-game suspension for his part in a Game 3 altercation with Kelly Olynyk, he went from being greeted with boos to a four-letter chant late in the third and quarters. Oubre (13 points, three rebounds) was the lone bright spot for the Wizards before the score got out of hand.

--The matchup problem that is Morris has put the Celtics in scramble mode. Horford, who has been crossmatched against him a lot this series, helped make him uncomfortable to the point that Morris shot a brick on a wide-open mid-range shot. When Morris had the undersized Crowder posted, Horford aggressively ran out to force him into a turnover that led to a transition three-pointer.

--Marcus Smart (nine points) ran less of the offense for the Celtics, which was a good thing for them. His turnover-prone ball-handling was alleviated as Terry Rozier (five points) had a greater role. Smart focused on the defensive end and knocked down a pair of spot-up threes in the fourth.

--With 25 of his points in the first half, Bradley set a career playoff-high.

[RELATED: Thomas fined for verbal altercation with Wizards fan]

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

The pre-draft workout process can be an exhausting journey for players, with so many flights, hotel rooms and NBA arenas that they can all blend in together. Michigan big man Moritz Wagner, though, may have felt a sense of comfort in Washington for his pre-draft workout for the Wizards on Wednesday.

It was just over a year ago that his Michigan Wolverines cut down the nets at Capital One Arena as champions of the Big Ten conference.

"It was good memories, man. Never gets old," he said while glancing around the stadium.

Wagner, 21, will be seeing a lot more of Capital One Arena once he joins the NBA ranks and it is conceivable he ends up in Washington. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and the 44th pick in the second round and Wagner could be within their reach.

Wagner had an impressive workout in Washington and could provide what the Wizards need. He is a big, mobile and can spread the floor. Wagner was terrific at stepping out to hit threes off pick-and-rolls at Michigan and that ability would work well with Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.

Wagner measured in at just under 7-feet at this month's NBA Combine, fifth-tallest among those who attended. He averaged 14.6 points as a junior this past season and made 39.4 percent of his threes on 4.1 attempts per game.

With three years of college experience and an NBA-ready jumper, Wagner believes he can step right in and help the Wizards.

"I think what we did at Michigan, sharing the ball and playing as a team, very organized basketball, that can help big-time," he said. "It's basically pro basketball I was playing on a different level."

As Wagner will tell you, he is very confident in his abilities. He is comfortable in his own skin and that includes openly discussing his faults. He feels good about his ability to score at the next level. Defense is where he needs to prove himself.

Despite his size, Wagner wasn't much of a rim protector in college. He averaged just a half-block a game as a junior. The Wizards need rim protection badly and he likely would not provide that.

Wagner, though, believes he can bring more to the table defensively than the numbers would suggest.

"I think I've been an offensive guy all of my life, but the more that you mature as a player, you understand that both sides are important. Without defense, you aren't going to play at any level," he said.

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen, especially with the way the league is going. Switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Wagner is from Germany and looks up to Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season and will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Nowitzki's game has always been built around shooting and, though he developed into a decent shot-blocker in his prime, was never an elite rim protector.

Wagner hopes to follow in his footsteps playing a similar style.

"He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball," Wagner said. "It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

Hear more from Wagner in his one-on-one interview with Chris Miller in our latest Wizards Tipoff podcast. His interview can also be found in the video above:

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Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

On Thursday the NBA revealed the All-NBA teams for the 2017-18 season.

Not surprisingly, Bradley Beal and John Wall did not make it to one of the three five-player teams. Of the two superstars, only Wall has been recognized once in his career.

What is surprising is that neither Beal nor Wall received a single vote in the whole process, especially Beal.

The 2017-18 season was without question the best in Beal’s career. He played in all 82 games, coming right off of the heals of his All-Star recognition. Beal seems to agree in his snubbing, tweeting this minutes after the teams were announced:

Looking at the list of players who made the top three teams, it shouldn’t be an issue, but these three guys got more votes than the Wizards' duo combined: Steven Adams, Trevor Ariza, and Dwight Howard. It is not surprising that Beal and Wall did not make an All-NBA team. It is odd that Beal didn’t receive a vote.

Here is a list of the full All-NBA Teams:

ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM: 

LeBron James (Cavaliers), James Harden (Rockets), Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers), Kevin Durant (Warriors)

ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM:

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Russell Westbrook (Thunder), Joel Embiid (76ers), LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs), DeMar DeRozan (Raptors)

ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM:

Stephen Curry (Warriors), Victor Oladipo (Pacers), Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves), Jimmy Butler (Timberwolves), Paul George (Thunder)

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