Celtics coast to victory in Game 5
By Adam Himmelsbach
For the past three days, as the Celtics licked their wounds after getting drilled in consecutive playoff games in Washington, they vowed to be the team that struck first. They were tired of the Wizards having their way with them, tired of their massive runs, tired of all of it.
And when Washington started Game 5 of this Eastern Conference semifinal by scoring the first four points, there were some here-we-go-again groans. But that is where the bad vibes ceased for the Celtics, as they responded with a fast-breaking, fast-striking and balanced attack that overwhelmed Washington for nearly 48 minutes.
After facing the early and tiny deficit, they surged back with a 16-0 run, and the game was never close again. In the end, Boston took an emphatic 123-101 victory that gave it a 3-2 lead in this best-of-seven series. Game 6 will be played in Washington on Friday night.
Even though the Wizards have controlled more of this series than the Celtics have, the fact remains that these teams have now met nine times this year, and the home team has won every game. And if this series reaches Game 7, it will be played at TD Garden.
The Celtics have been looking for someone to provide scoring punch as the Wizards looked to neutralize Isaiah Thomas, and on Wednesday, Avery Bradley stepped into that role with aplomb. By halftime, the guard had already reached a playoff career high by scoring 25 points, and he finished with a game-high 29.
Thomas had a quiet night as a scorer, tallying 18 points. But he dished out 9 assists and served as a screener in pick-and-rolls, forcing the Wizards into making tough decisions. Much of the offense ran through Al Horford, who finished with 19 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds.
John Wall had 21 points to lead the Wizards, but he did not dazzle like he did in Washington.
Globe Sports 5/11/2017 2:26:29 AM
Avery Bradley dunks (Getty Images)
Globe Sports 5/11/2017 2:21:03 AM