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Takeaways from Wizards' thrilling victory in Game 6 vs. Boston Celtics

Takeaways from Wizards' thrilling victory in Game 6 vs. Boston Celtics

They wore all-black attire in Friday’s attempted closeout of the Wizards at Verizon Center. The Boston Celtics, however, were turned away a bit red-faced as the ploy backfired and John Wall had the last laugh as his three-pointer with 3.5 seconds left won it 92-91.

The home team has won every game in this East semifinal that returns to TD Garden for a Game 7 on Monday to determine who meets the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Boston erased a 10-point first-half deficit, led by 87-82 in the final two minutes after a quick explosion by Isaiah Thomas and the Wizards tied it after a pair of stops on a three-pointer from Bradley Beal and free throws from Wall with 41.2 seconds left.

RELATED: WALL CELEBRATES WIN ON SCORER'S TABLE

The Wizards are 6-0 at home in the postseason.

Wall (26 points, eight assists) was listless for most of three quarters, Marcin Gortat (four points, 13 rebounds) was in early foul trouble and Otto Porter (36 minutes) went scoreless. as he missed all five of his attempts.

Like the Wizards in Games 1 and 2 when they had victory in hand in Boston, the Celtics wilted down the stretch.

This could’ve been the third Game 6 semifinal elimination in four years for Wall, Gortat, Porter and Beal (33 points, five assists).

But after Avery Bradley (27 points) made the go-ahead jumper, Beal responded with a drive by Kelly Olynyk to tie the score at 89 and set the stage for the finish.

Wall began shooting 1-for-9 but caught fire with three consecutive field goals, including a three-pointer, to tie the score at 50 in the third quarter. He scored 13 of his points in the third. Beal scored 13 in the fourth.

Then it was Beal who came alive to repeatedly beat the Celtics’ slower defenders off the dribble to get to the rim in the fourth.

Bradley, Thomas (27 points, seven assists) and Al Horford (20 points, six rebounds) weren’t enough for Boston to get over the hump.

A pair of foul shots from Jae Crowder (10 points, seven rebounds, eight assists) tied the score at 82 in the final four minutes. Horford’s difficult bank shot with 7.7 seconds left put the Celtics ahead 91-89.

The dislike between the teams made this a game the Wizards believed going in they couldn’t lose no matter the circumstances.

“It factors into it a little bit. I think it gets the fans more involved than anything,” Beal said before tipoff. “You get a little bit more edge, you can yell at them a little bit more, kind of disrupt them. I don’t know what it is. We don’t like each other. We both want to win. It’s competitive. It’s fun to me. I enjoy it. This is how hoops should be.”

It’ll last one more game.

[RELATED: Celtics players arrive at Game 6 against Wizards wearing all black]

--The Wizards went without a field goal in the last 4:10 of the second quarter. Wall didn’t have a point or an assist in the eight minutes he played. The Wizards went from a 40-30 led to trailing 42-41 at halftime.

--Defense is what got the Wizards back on top after trailing throughout the third quarter. They had multiple blocks to begin the fourth and consecutive baskets from Beal put them ahead 70-69 with 9:45 left. It was defense that got them the stops late, turning over Thomas who had a game-high five giveaways.

--Gortat picked up two fouls and had to leave the game. When he re-entered at 7:32 of the second, it took him just five seconds to pick up his third foul on a closeout of Thomas. He screened for Wall in the lane with 5:51 left in the third quarter and picked up his fourth foul. Coach Scott Brooks, however, stayed with Gortat in the lineup. His screen-setting and four offensive rebounds got the Wizards the looks they needed to close.

--Neither team shot the ball well from three-point range, but that didn’t make either bashful. Through three quarters, the Wizards were 5-for-24 and Celtics shot 11-for-35. Beal has been less than 30% for the playoffs and shot 1-for-8. He didn’t make any of his threes in Game 5.

--One of Ian Mahinmi’s strengths is supposed to be his ability to defend but he remained indecisive in closing out Horford at the three-point line and paid for it. Also he came up to trap Thomas to help Wall on the pick-and-roll, got too high and allowed the 5-9 point guard to split it. Mahinmi then picked up his fourth foul to stop the layup.

--Thomas picked up his fourth foul trying to defend Bojan Bogdanovic (four points) in the paint. Thomas stayed in the game, and though he’s usually a defensive liability he was even more of one as he was more concerned (and rightly so) with being on the floor in crunch time. The Wizards’ strategy to contain him worked again as he shot just 8-for-24 from the field.

--Both benches were limited as the Wizards got just 13 from theirs led by Ian Mahinmi (six points). Boston only got five points, with Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier going scoreless and combining to shoot 0-for-8.

[RELATED: Alex Ovechkin, Nationals players turn out to support Wizards in Game 6]

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Wizards waive three, sign 2017 first-rounder Anzejs Pasecniks

Wizards waive three, sign 2017 first-rounder Anzejs Pasecniks

As the NBA regular season approaches, the Washington Wizards seek to finalize their roster.

The Wizards announced on Wednesday that they have waived Phil Booth, Justin Anderson and Jemerrio Jones. The team also signed 2017 first-rounder Anzejs Pasecniks and small forward Jalen Jones, the team announced.

Pasecniks and Jones were signed to Exhibit 10 contracts, meaning that if they are waived, they will have the opportunity to play for the Go-Go, the Wizards' G-League affiliate. Booth was on an Exhibit 10 deal, so he will report to the Go-Go after being waived.

Pasecniks, a 7-foot center from Latvia, was the 25th overall selection from the 2017 draft. The Orlando Magic drafted him and moved him to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for draft picks. The 76ers renounced his rights in June.

Pasecniks played on the Wizards summer league team, averaging 4.0 points and 5.3 rebounds. Jalen Jones has averaged 4.8 points and 2.3 rebounds while shooting 37 percent from beyond the arc in 32 games over two seasons with three teams.

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John Wall embracing role as assistant coach during injury rehab

John Wall embracing role as assistant coach during injury rehab

WASHINGTON -- John Wall has already made enough money during his basketball career to last a lifetime and his new supermax contract worth $170 million is just kicking in. When he is done playing in the NBA, he doesn't have to do anything at all if he doesn't want to.

But there is at least a small part of Wall that believes coaching could be in his future. He loves the game enough to not rule out the possibility.

This year will give him a taste of what being a coach is all about. While he rehabs his ruptured left Achilles, he will serve as an unofficial assistant to head coach Scott Brooks. Wall will be asked to break down film with players, advise on plays to run and help the team's young point guards in practice.

Wall isn't sure as of today whether he wants to coach when his playing days are over. But he may have an answer in just a few months.

"I think this year will tell me whether I can be a coach or not," Wall told NBC Sports Washington on the Wizards Talk podcast. 

"I think you have to have a lot of patience and you've gotta know how to interact with every player. Every player's attitudes and character and mood swings are totally different. I learned from when a coach tried to coach me when I was young and I wasn't the guy to coach."

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard envisions Wall as an important part of the locker room, even when he isn't playing. Part of his role may include some tough conversations with players. As Sheppard says, Wall may be able to deliver some messages that resonate more from a peer than if they came from a coach. 

Wall knows he can help in that regard. He has long been a vocal presence for the Wizards and had to assume the role as a team leader at an early age. After coming in as the No. 1 overall pick, he was a franchise player from the time he was 19 years old.

Wall's personality may also lend itself to those duties. He is very honest, whether it be with teammates or the media. 

"I like to speak my mind," he said. "It's like my momma always told me, 'I'd rather you speak your mind and say what you want to say, but say it in a respectful manner and a respectful way.'"

Wall, in fact, has a detailed philosophy on being honest. He doesn't like to lie whether it's in a media setting, to teammates or in everyday life.

It's not quite a Jim Carrey in 'Liar, Liar' deal, but Wall sees no point in beating around the bush. If he has something to say to a teammate or the media, he will say it.

"I don't know how to not give you the truth," he said. "What I've learned is that when you lie, you've gotta remember that lie exactly the way you said it for the next 12 people you tell it to. So, why make it that tough?"

Wall is set to miss at least the first few months of the Wizards' 2019-20 season and he could be sidelined the entire year. He said he hopes to have a similar impact that Kristi Tolliver did with the Mystics this past season where she remained active as a veteran leader in the locker room despite not being able to help the team on the floor for weeks due to a knee injury.

Missing so much time due to injury is not the ideal situation for Wall, but he plans to make the most of it.

"It will make my game a lot smarter and better for when I come back," he said.

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