clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Will hot shooting or defense be the key to a Game 2 Celtics’ victory?

The Celtics hit nineteen threes and clamped down on D after the first quarter of Game 1.

NBA: Playoffs-Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics hit nineteen threes in Game 1, but weren't good defensively (113.6 DefRtg). For them to win Game 2, do you see another shoot out or a defensive stand?

Keith Smith: Another shootout, but with just enough defense mixed in. Boston probably isn't going to allow 38 first quarter points again. They'll start the game a little better, but both teams cause each other too many troubles on defense for this to be anything but a shootout.

Sean Penney: Boston is taking and making more three-pointers than any team in the postseason, yet converting at a 36.1 percent rate that is more middle-of-the-pack. They can't rely on draining 19 every game, so they'll have to step it up on the defensive end.

NBA: Playoffs-Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Sy: As playoff series go forward, they get nastier and more physical. I don’t think Boston will allow so many easy shots. After the Wiz jumped out to a 22-5 lead, the Celtics had a 103.9 DefRtg for the rest of the game. They bodied up on PnR’s and suffocated Wall’s and Beal’s air space. If they can stay away from those ticky tack fouls, they’ll continue to keep them off the free throw line.

Alex Kungu: I actually think the pace of the game made the defense look a little worse then it actually was. John Wall got forced into 8 turnovers, Gortat disappeared after the first quarter, and besides for a hot stretch by Bogdanovic, the Wizards bench was nonexistent. Saying all that, without a healthy Morris and Mahinmi, the Wizards could really struggle to keep up with the Celtics and force the Wizards to rely deeper on the bench which is not something they want. As long as the Celtics can continue to generate open shots the way they have for most of the playoffs, they can probably just outscore the Wizards again.

And for those of you thinking, “well, the Celtics aren’t just going to keep hitting the three like that every night are they?” Probably not, but consider this. The Celtics were 19-39 from three in game 1. Of those shots 39 shots, 33 of them were open or wide open and according to, and the Celtics made 17 of those attempts, meaning a majority of those made 3’s were actually just the Celtics hitting open looks. Hey, maybe that’s not sustainable in the long run either, but in a playoff series where the Celtics are primarily playing small and keeping all there best shooters on the floors, you never know.

Jeff Clark: I don't think the Celtics can hit that many 3 pointers but I don't exactly fear the Wizards defense either. I feel like it will be a lower scoring affair but not exactly a defensive slugfest either. Basically I'm predicting a regression toward the mean.

Jared Weiss: I asked Brad Stevens after Game 1 if he thinks his team was scratching the surface on a shooting hot streak, regurgitating the “water seeks its level” metaphor he used earlier in the week. “Hope not,” he said. “Hope we still have some level to find.” As great as the franchise-record-tying 19 threes were, it was just their fourth-highest three-point percentage of the season. Expecting them to suddenly jump into the low 20s in three-point makes along the lines of the Warriors, Rockets, and Cavs is unlikely, but they need to hit at least 15 consistently to win with their shooting. Jae Crowder had that slump breaker he had been waiting for all playoffs long. They can keep up this high-teens three-point shooting and ride the wave they surfed around new years when they at least 17 threes in 6 of 8 games. The Celtics won all but one of those games. They are capable of these dominant hot streaks where the water goes from rising to boiling. Another one of those can drown the hobbled Wizards quicker than anticipated.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Celtics Blog Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Boston Celtics news from Celtics Blog