Washington Wizards Allow Thomas to Score 53, Fall in OT Despite Wall’s 40

Washington Wizards had the opportunity to win Game 2 in regulation, but ended up falling to the Celtics in overtime in a game in which John Wall had 40 points, 13 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks.

The Wizards looked to rebound from a Game 1 loss that included an early 16-0 lead, and a third quarter where the team was outscored by 20.  Washington routinely gets out to early first quarter leads, with the strong play of the starters, and Game 2 was no different.  

First Quarter

Washington saw the return of Markieff Morris, who is still dealing with a sprained left ankle, and he and John Wall led the way early.  The Wiz raced out to a 16-8 lead and led after the 1st quarter 42 to 29, behind Wall’s 19 points and Morris’ 10 points.  

Amazingly, Washington led Boston despite the Celtics shooting 69% from the field.  This could mostly be attributed to the Wizards winning the turnover battle nine to zero.  When Washington forces turnovers, they get into the transition offense, and fastbreak points fuel this team.

Wall was great knifing to the basket, and also added one of his three three-pointers in the fastbreak.  Routinely, he backed down Isaiah Thomas and had his choice of shooting or finding an open teammate because of his height advantage and great passing ability.

We’ll have to keep an eye on Wall, as he took a hard fall late in the quarter on his left wrist.  He was grabbing it for the next few minutes, and this is the same wrist that he broke during the 2015 playoffs in Atlanta.  In that game, he finished the game, before getting the diagnosis the next day.

Second Quarter

The game script matched Game 1 pretty equal.  Wall sat to start the quarter, leaving Beal as the only starter.  Meanwhile Boston returned with Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, and Avery Bradley.

Beal couldn’t do much as the only starter.  On many possessions he couldn’t get open. He got his first shot attempt with under 6 minutes left in the half, and Wall back on the floor.  He ended the game with six turnovers. Coach Brooks has already stressed to the media that the team needs to work on getting hands off of Beal and him more open looks.  Wiz took a three point lead into halftime.

Weird Third Quarter

The third quarter was strange in a number of ways.

  • Wiz went on a 9-0 run after Smart tied the game on a three
  • Isaiah slammed his face (and teeth) hard on the court
  • Otto Porter took Thomas’ head to his nose and had to leave the court bleeding
  • Morris and IT got double techs after that play
  • And despite leading 87-75 with 4 minutes left, Washington led by only 5 going into the fourth quarter.

There were a variety of plays that swung the momentum in this quarter, and having only a five point lead going into the fourth was very deflating.

4th Qtr/OT

The third quarter saw chippy back and fourth play from both teams, but the fourth quarter was aswing of emotions.  Brooks elected to start Wall on the bench as per usual, and while he returned with the Wiz still up 5, it didn’t feel like it.

After scoring 35 points through the first three quarters, Wall scored only 5 points in his final 14 minutes.  He certainly looked gassed (he played), and although others hit big shots, including Otto with a three to put the Wiz up two with 32 seconds left, there was simply not enough help.

The rest of the 4th quarter and overtime belonged to Isaiah Thomas, who had 29 points in the 4th quarter and OT.  He put the Wizards in a blender every time he ran the pick and roll, and when switched on to the Wizards bigs either forced a foul, scored, or got an assist seemingly every time.

It’s unfortunate that people will forget the brilliant game Wall had in regulation. Meanwhile, his counterpart became only the 7th player in the shot clock era to score 53 or more points in a playoff game.  He also had this magical game on the day his late sister would have turned 23.

Washington did have a chance to win at the end of regulation, but Wall and Beal missed pretty good (Great for Beal) looks.  On to Washington.

Where the Game Was Lost

  • Not boxing out and allowing key offensive rebounds leading to second chance points
  • Poor pick and roll defense contributing to Thomas’ 53 points and a huge three from Terry Rozier with 1 minute left in the 4th
  • John Wall was extraordinary through the first three quarters on offense, but simply couldn’t get much help from backcourt mate Bradley Beal, who was 4-14 from the field and missed a potential game winning shot at the buzzer
  • Wizards Bench combined for 22 points (from Oubre+Smith) and the streaky Bojan had 0 points in 8 minutes
  • Foul Trouble: Morris and Gortat both fouled out early in OT