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Takeaways from Wizards' blowout win over Boston Celtics in Game 4

Takeaways from Wizards' blowout win over Boston Celtics in Game 4

In Game 3, it was a 22-0 run that sealed the Boston Celtics’ fate in the first quarter. Sunday, it was 26-0 run in the third quarter of Game 4 as the Wizards drew even in the East semifinals the moment John Wall came alive.

Wall (27 points, 12 assists, five steals) missed his first nine shots before he caught fire to score 12 of their final 18 points before halftime to erase a 12-point deficit and inspire another surge in a 121-102 victory in Game 4. The series is tied 2-2 with the pivotal Game 5 at TD Garden on Wednesday.

Otto Porter (18 points, eight rebounds, four steals) was the early offense for Washington as he scored 10 of his points in the first quarter. Bradley Beal (29 points) started slow but began to find his shot and Markieff Morris (16 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, three steals) continued to be a matchup nightmare for Boston.

The Wizards’ defense suffocated Isaiah Thomas (19 points, six turnovers) after a hot start in which he made all three of this three-pointers in the first quarter. But they kept him away from the rim and forced others to make shots and for the second game in a row the Celtics failed.

Jae Crowder (six points) shot just 2-for-9, Avery Bradley (five points) was 2-for-9 and Marcus Smart (nine points) shot 2-for-7.

The score was tied 48-48 at halftime and Amir Johnson (seven points) had a personal 5-0 burst to put the Celtics on top. Then for the next 6:30, the Celtics went without a point as the Wizards blew the game open by forcing nine turnovers – five by Thomas -- and just 5-for-16 shooting.

Three of the Wizards starters, Wall, Beal and Morris, scored in double figures in the third quarter alone, accounting for 34 of their 42 points.

The Wizards are 5-0 at home in the playoffs.

[RELATED: Ted, Zach Leonsis wear Oubre jerseys to Game 4]

--After an offensive foul on Kelly Olynyk (14 points), chants of “Kelly Oubre” took over the arena. It was Oubre’s confrontation in Game 3 that led to his ejection and receiving a one-game suspension. Oubre will be back for Game 5.

--Thomas was used as a screener to get Crowder and Johnson uncontested layups. That’s how they got out to an early lead as the Wizards were so concerned with jumping the return pass to the guard that they forgot about the big slipping to the rim. But the ball pressure eventually caused Thomas to break. Marcin Gortat (six points, seven rebounds) was key in staying big in the middle and making the 5-foot-9 point guard finish over size. And the officials didn’t reward Thomas with whistles for jumping into bigs to get whistles. Thomas didn’t attempt a foul shot.

--The Wizards’ biggest edge statistically has been with rebounding. They were 38-38 in a Game 1 loss, had just a 44-41 edge in a Game 2 loss but were 50-38 in a Game 3 win. They were 45-31 in their second win in a row Sunday.

--Johnson was back in the starting lineup for Boston while Gerald Green, who started Game 3, didn’t play until the score was lopsided and coach Brad Stevens was desperate for answers. Johnson was a liability whether it was on the offensive end or trying to be the help big switching onto Wall on the pick-and-roll. It’s the biggest trouble spot for Boston, because of they go to three guards with Green or Smart they’re too small vs. Morris and he’s good enough defensively to stay in front of them away from the rim. If they go with Johnson, Morris can take him from the rim, face him up and beat him to his spots or get his in the post. Against Smart, he’ll post and get easy looks.

--Morris is unaccounted for when he pops to the arc for three-point looks. The Celtics kept giving him the looks and if he’s able to knock them down, they’re going to have trouble winning. Morris was just 2-for-4 but that’s good enough. Because they’re undersized in the middle, Boston commits bodies to contend with Gortat in the middle. They picked their poison, just as the Wizards have done with taking away Thomas and forcing other shooters to beat them.

--Thomas picked up a technical foul at 6:38 of the fourth quarter after being called for a foul on Beal. It was the only one of the game after the teams combined for eight in Game 3.

--Tomas Satoransky (five points) got the call with Oubre out to defend Thomas and did a credible job denying him the ball. He also made his only shot. Bojan Bogdanovic (13 points) had his second strong performance in a rowas he led the reserves. Ian Mahinmi (three assists) didn’t score but found cutters under the basket for layups. He played 13 minutes, three more than he did in Game 3 as he works his way back from a left calf strain.

[RELATED: Wall pulls off ridiculous spin move in Game 4]

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Watch Rui Hachimura’s shutdown block

Watch Rui Hachimura’s shutdown block

Rui Hachimura continued his dominance in international friendlies Saturday as he put up 31 points and five rebounds in a winning effort over Germany.

After a highlight-reel performance in Thursday's loss to Argentina, Hachimura was back at it two days later.

That block at the 37-second mark is just filthy. It would also be goaltending in the NBA, but FIBA rules allow players to touch the ball at pretty much any time once it's made contact with some part of the hoop. Nevertheless, the athleticism to make this play is what stands out.

But Hachimura wasn't finished.

He looks more like Steph Curry leading that breakaway, dribbling behind his back and finishing at the rim himself than a 6-foot-8 forward.

With the international friendly schedule at its end, Japan will tip off the 2020 FIBA World Cup on Sunday, Sept. 1 against Turkey. After a matchup with the Czech Republic, Hachimura and Japan will take on his future NBA opponents when they face the United States on Sept. 5.

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Maryland native Quinn Cook tells the behind-the-scenes story of his road to the Lakers

Maryland native Quinn Cook tells the behind-the-scenes story of his road to the Lakers

Before he joined the Los Angeles Lakers as part of a blockbuster summer that saw them land Anthony Davis, before he won the NBA Finals as a role player with the Golden State Warriors, and before he averaged double-digit scoring and won the NCAA tournament at Duke, Quinn Cook was a star point guard at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md.

Cook was in town this week for his fourth annual youth basketball camp at First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Landover. NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller sat down with the former Stag, who he’s known since the now-Lakers guard was 14 years old, on the Wizards Talk podcast.

Miller talked with Cook about why he feels connected to kids in the local community and what it was like losing his father as a teenager. One of his closest friends is fellow DeMatha product Victor Oladipo, who helped him get through the loss of his father Ted when he died suddenly in 2008 after going into a coma following a colon procedure.

“My best friend Norman and Victor, their parents took them out of school, and they were with me for two weeks,” Cook said. “At the funeral, [head coach Mike] Jones had the entire DeMatha basketball program…come to the funeral and all sit together [with] their uniforms on.”

Cook also went on to talk about his time at Duke, the viral video in which he convinced some people at the mall he was J Cole and his obsession with winning before going into how he landed in Los Angeles this offseason.

“When Golden State withdrew their qualifying offer, I became unrestricted and had some teams call me and the Lakers thing, it just happened quick,” Cook said. “I had talks with them, AD called me, [LeBron James] called Rob Palinka for me, and Coach K called them, talked to Bron and stuff and we got it done.”

Check out the full podcast below and listen to Miller talk hoops every week on the Wizards Talk podcast.

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