WASHINGTON, D.C. – It’s going to Game 7.
John Wall hit an incredible dagger three in Avery Bradley’s face to beat the Boston Celtics 92-91 in Game 6 to force a Game 7 back in Boston on Monday. The Wizards became the first home team facing elimination to win in the 2017 playoffs.
Wall was a typhoon blowing through the Celtics defense all night, finishing with 26 points and 8 assists. Bradley Beal carried Washington most of the evening with a 33 points performance.
The Wizards continued their strategy of attacking Isaiah Thomas high pick-and-rolls, using two defenders to zone up under the screen and force him to pass out early. It worked to take him out of his game early as he entered the fourth quarter shooting 4-for-13 with four turnovers.
But he’s the King of a particular quarter, that being the fourth. When the Celtics enter crunch time situations, that’s where Thomas rises above every one of his peers. It’s where he goes from man to legend. That legend grew Friday night, culminating in another chapter in his glorious story.
Thomas checked in with less than five minutes left, drilling an open three off an offensive rebound kickout from Al Horford. The Celtics began using him to attract the overloading defense, opening up corner actions.
But with less than two minutes left, the Wizards hit back. They blitzed Isaiah Thomas on a pick and roll to force a bad pass turnover and turned it into a Bradley Beal three to cut it to two. They forced another bad Thomas shot and John Wall stampeded to the hoop, drawing a foul and tying it at the line.
With 41.2 seconds left and a tied game, Brad Stevens called timeout, with a 2 for 1 chance and an ATO play. They curled Avery Bradley through the free throw line area to hit a strong side catch and shoot two off the inbound. The Wizards came down with a Bradley Beal crossover on Kelly Olynyk, tying it up.
With 14.1 seconds left in regulation and nine seconds on the shot clock, Stevens called one more timeout. 30 seconds removed from a perfect ATO for Bradley, he took a huge risk to run a DHO pick and roll with Thomas and Horford to get Al a corner jumper.
Despite a near-perfect contest, Horford buried the bank shot from an almost impossible angle to five the Celtics a 91-89 lead with 7.7 seconds left. But John Wall hit an unforgettable three in Avery Bradley’s eye to take a one point lead.
The Celtics nearly pulled off an incredible trick play to get Kelly Oylynk a layup to win it, but Kelly Oubre wisely committed a take foul to force another inbound. Thomas came flying in to catch the second inbound, but after barely getting off a wild three over Markieff Morris, his shot hit the glass and then the rim, setting up Game 7.
This was a game dominated by starters, with both teams combining for just 18 bench points, the fewest in a playoff game since the Celtics fell to the Lakers in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals per Turner’s Matt Winer.