Green Street
A WEEI.com Celtics Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network
Posts related to ‘2017 NBA Playoffs’
LeBron James, Kevin Love throttle the Celtics in Game 1; Tristan Thompson provides muscle 05.17.17 at 11:01 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on LeBron James, Kevin Love throttle the Celtics in Game 1; Tristan Thompson provides muscle
May 17, 2017; Boston, MA, USA;  Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) drives against Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) during the first quarter in game one of the Eastern conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James drives against Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown during the first quarter in game one of the Eastern conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. (Greg M. Cooper-USA Today Sports)

LeBron James and the Cavaliers were not about add to the Celtics’ fairytale week.

In a display becoming of a defending champion, the Cavaliers, coming off a nine-day hiatus, came to Boston and put a stranglehold on the team that was just 48 hours removed from an electrifying and draining seven-game victory over the Washington Wizards and a day from winning the NBA Draft lottery for the first time in franchise history.

James scored 23 of his 38 points in the first half while Kevin Love added 32 points as the Cavaliers routed the Celtics, 117-104, in Game 1 of the Eastern finals Wednesday night at TD Garden. Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley finished with 21 apiece to lead the Celtics, who will try somehow to regroup for Game 2 Friday night at the Garden before the series shifts to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4 Sunday and Tuesday. 

“With LeBron playing at this level, other guys just have to be solid and contribute,” Cavaliers coach Ty Lue said. 

“He’s better than when I got in the league, a lot better,” Brad Stevens said. “He’s a good player, a great player. I didn’t think he could get any better.”

The Celtics tried many defensive options on James and Love, with little success all night. 

“It’s easier said than done but we have to figure out our best avenue quickly,” Stevens said of the challenge of defending James and Love when they’re on the court together. “Doubling is really scary against these guys but it may be necessary.”

The win was Cleveland’s 12th straight in the postseason, dating back to their comeback against the Warriors in the 2016 Finals. They are a perfect 9-0 in the playoffs while the Warriors are one better at 10-0 this postseason. 

The game started out as the Celtics worst nightmare. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2017 Eastern Conference finals, 2017 NBA Playoffs, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers
Kelly Olynyk, Jaylen Brown help Isaiah Thomas, Celtics vanquish Wizards in electric Game 7, move onto LeBron James 05.15.17 at 10:42 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Kelly Olynyk, Jaylen Brown help Isaiah Thomas, Celtics vanquish Wizards in electric Game 7, move onto LeBron James
May 15, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) shoots the ball over Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) during the first half in game seven of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Thomas shoots the ball over Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal in a tense Game 7 at TD Garden Monday night. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Bring on LeBron.

In a series filled with dramatic swings in momentum and emotion, the Celtics outlasted the Wizards, 115-105, Monday night in a tense Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series at TD Garden. 

“It was ridiculous, I don’t think this building reached that level, since I’ve been here at least,” Brad Stevens said of the TD Garden crowd. 

“It’s good to be able to validate the progress but it’s about the next game,” Stevens said of reaching the Eastern finals in his fourth season. 

Kelly Olynyk put up a playoff career high of 26 points off the bench – including 14 in an amazing fourth-quarter display – while Isaiah Thomas was his usual electric self with 29 points as the Celtics can now get ready for Game 1 of the Eastern finals against the defending champion Cavaliers Wednesday night in Boston. 

“Kelly was the MVP tonight,” Thomas said. 

“They’re playing better than last year, at least when I watch them,” Stevens said of the Cavaliers. “I think they’re playing better than any of the four times we played them, including the last time when they smashed us.”

The heroics of Olynyk and Thomas offset a playoff career-best 38 points from Bradley Beal in a losing cause. 

The reason the Celtics advanced was simple: They had more in reserve. Specifically, their bench gave them a boost that the Wizards just didn’t enjoy. 

The group of Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk gave the Celtics the luxury to rest the likes of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Al Horford. 

When when Thomas and Horford were on the court in the fourth quarter, they put away Washington in dramatic fashion. Thomas and Horford dominated. John Wall looked like a superstar entirely out of gas. Wall couldn’t do it all and Washington’s awful bench was his and the team’s ultimate undoing. 

The Celtics’ bench outscored Washington’s reserves, 48-5. 

For the Wizards, their Eastern finals drought continues. They haven’t been to the NBA final four since 1979 when they beat the San Antonio Spurs to advance to the NBA finals against Seattle. The home team won all 11 meetings this season. 

The Celtics advance to the Eastern finals for the first time since 2012, when they also faced LeBron James and fell in a seven-game thriller to the Miami Heat. The Celtics continued their dominance of the Wizards in Boston, beating Washington for the ninth straight time, dating to 2014. 

With an electric Game 7 atmosphere not seen in TD Garden for a Celtics game since beating the 76ers in 2012, the Celtics took advantage of the thunderous crowd. 

Washington missed five of their first six shots while the Celtics hit three of their first six, including a wing three that ignited the crowd and caused Scott Brooks to call his first time out. 

Otto Porter’s put back with seven minutes left ended Boston’s 7-0 run that helped the Celtics to a 10-2 lead. That started a run for the Wizards, which included Amir Johnson picking up his second foul. Another Achilles heel of the Celtics revealed itself in the first seven minutes, as four turnovers led to seven Wizards points. 

(For a complete boxscore, click here.) 

With the game tied at 17, rookie Jaylen Brown came off the bench to spark a 7-0, including a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws. The Wizards again responded with a run that featured Amir Johnson picking up his third foul with a minute left in the opening quarter. The Celtics picked up some momentum when Kelly Olynyk drove to the basket for a layup and was fouled with 5.7 seconds left. Olynyk made the free throw and the Celtics took a 27-23 lead into the second period. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2017 NBA Playoffs, Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Game 7
John Wall lifts Wizards over Celtics with dramatic 3 to force Game 7, takes shot at Celtics postgame 05.12.17 at 10:51 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on John Wall lifts Wizards over Celtics with dramatic 3 to force Game 7, takes shot at Celtics postgame

May 12, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) is fouled while dribbling the ball by Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat (13) in the first quarter in game six of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Thomas is fouled while dribbling the ball by Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat (13) in the first quarter in game six of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

So close. But still so far. 

John Wall’s rainbow from 26 feet over Avery Bradley fell through the basket with 3.5 seconds left to give the Wizards a 92-91 win over the stunned Celtics in Game 6 Friday night at the Verizon Center. 

The prayer of a three sets up a Game 7 Monday night at TD Garden as the Wizards become the first home team to win an elimination on their home court in 11 tries this postseason. 

Isaiah Thomas’ desperation three at the buzzer clanged off the rim to set up the second Game 7 of these NBA playoffs. 

Al Horford’s bad angle bank shot with 7.7 seconds broke a tie and appeared to have sent the Celtics to the Eastern finals against LeBron for the first time since 2012. But instead, a winner-take-all Game 7 will decide matters in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Wall was ice-cold for the first three quarters before heating up when it mattered most. He and Isaiah Thomas reprised their Game 2 battle with each taking turns making big shots down the stretch. Thomas and Wall each had 10 points in the fourth quarter. But the difference might have been Beal, who scored 13 of his game-high 33 in the final period. 

The Celtics came dressed to kill in all black wardrobes on their way to the locker room, something not unnoticed by Wall, as he spoke to ESPN’s Lisa Salters moments after the game-winning shot. 

“I ain’t going home. Don’t come to my city, wearing all black, talking about a funeral,” Wall said. “We worked too hard for this. All we ask for is a Game 7, 50-50.” 

“Great shot by a great player,” Brad Stevens said of the Wall game-winner. “We’re going to guard it as hard as we can. We’re going to shake his hand and move on.” 

The Celtics were led by Thomas and Bradley, each pouring in 27 while Horford had 20. In addition to Beal’s 33, Wall scored 26 for the Wizards, who are now one win from their first Eastern finals appearance since 1979. 

Despite shooting just 4-for-17 in the first quarter and getting manhandled in the paint, the Celtics were able to stay close, trailing just 22-17 heading into the second quarter. 

Down 26-19 in the second quarter, the Celtics scored the next seven points, capped by an Avery Bradley three. 

(Click here for a complete box score of Game 6)

The Celtics caught another big break when Wizards big man Marcin Gortat picked up his third personal foul with 7:27 left in the first half. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2017 NBA Playoffs, Boston Celtics, Bradley Beal, Isaiah Thomas
How Avery Bradley and Al Horford took apart the Wizards in Game 5 05.10.17 at 11:59 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on How Avery Bradley and Al Horford took apart the Wizards in Game 5

Avery Bradley was lights out in the first half and Al Horford was everywhere throughout Game 5 as the Celtics blew out the Wizards, 123-101, Wednesday at TD Garden. Mike Petraglia and Josue Pavon break down the win and look ahead to a close-out chance in Game 6.

Read More: 2017 NBA Playoffs, Al Horford, Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics
Avery Bradley torches the Wizards, leads Celtics to brink of Eastern finals at 10:25 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Avery Bradley torches the Wizards, leads Celtics to brink of Eastern finals

May 10, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley (0) drives to the basket against the Washington Wizards during the first quarter in game five of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Avery Bradley dunks against the Washington Wizards during the first quarter in Game 5 Wednesday at TD Garden. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Avery Bradley lit the fuse Wednesday and the Celtics exploded in the faces of Washington Wizards. 

In a relentless display of up-tempo, transition basketball and long-range sharp shooting, the Celtics ran the Wizards into oblivion Wednesday night, 123-101, in Game 5 at TD Garden to take a 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Celtics can close out the Wizards and advance to the Eastern finals against LeBron James and the Cavaliers with a win Friday in Game 6 in Washington. 

With the likes of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Julian Edelman and LeGarrette Blount in attendance courtside, the Celtics were intent on returning the haymakers the Wizards delivered in Games 3 and 4. They didn’t disappoint, and it was Bradley doing most of the damage. Bradley had a new career playoff high by halftime and finished with 29 points, taking a lot of pressure off Isaiah Thomas, who came out with four minutes left and finished with 18 points and nine assists. Al Horford chipped in with 19 points and seven assists.  Marcus Smart was the biggest contributor off the bench with nine points, 11 rebounds and six assists. 

“I just thought we all came out with a better sense of purpose today than we probably did in those games (in Washington), but, you know, sometimes you feel a lot better when you make shots at the rate we did, and we’ll go back and look at the film and there are areas where we need to improve and get ready for Friday,” Brad Stevens said.

“We just wanted to impose our will. We were definitely the harder playing team tonight. We want that to (be the case) Friday night,” Isaiah Thomas said. “We limit 26-0, 22-0 runs, we’ll be OK.” 

“Avery was on fire,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “We didn’t have the focus we needed tonight. We’re trying to get to a Game 7. We have to play a lot better in Game 6.” 

It wasn’t just offense either. John Wall (21 points) and Bradley Beal (16) struggled badly from the field, combining to connect on just 14-of-36 shots. 

“We didn’t shoot the ball well tonight,” Brooks added. “Did they make us miss or did we miss a lot of shots? Our started were 4-for-17 from three. We had an off shooting night. Avery was on fire, Al was terrific. We had no answer for those guys. We did a good job on their best player but not enough on the other guys.”

The Celtics continued the home dominance between the two teams this season. Including four regular season games, the home team has now captured all nine meetings by an average of 15 points per game. The Wizards will have to hold serve Friday just to force a Game 7 next Monday in Boston. 

The last two games featured the sight of Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford on the bench, sitting in stunned silence, watching as the Celtics were blown out of the building. On this night, it was John Wall and Bradley Beal who spent most of the fourth quarter on the bench staring at the jumbotron, as the Celtics built their lead to 26. 

The Celtics were again blistering from beyond the arc, draining 15 of their first 29 long-distance field goals. They finished 16-of-33 from deep. 

In a dramatic flip of the script, the Celtics were the ones who went on a massive run that provided separation. And they did it in the first quarter, no less. After allowing the Wizards to score the first four points of the game, the Celtics responded with the next 16 to take a 16-4 lead. 

Bradley was monstrous in the first quarter, hitting 6-of-8 from the field and scoring 14 points in the opening period. Bradley was the key to the Celtics in transition in the first, as he scored 9 of his 14 points before the Wizards could get back, three of them coming on dunks. 

The Celtics outscored the Wizards, 13-0, in transition as the took a stranglehold of the game. The Celtics led 33-21 after 12 minutes and this time they didn’t allow a 12-point lead to immediately wither away like they did in Game 4. 

Jae Crowder’s three from the right wing put the Celtics up 18, 41-23, with 9:51 left in the second quarter. Crowder banked in a three with seven minutes left in the quarter to give the Celtics a 48-26 lead. 

(For a full box score, click here.)

As was the case with Kelly Olynyk in Game 4 in D.C., the crowd waited for Kelly Oubre to come into the game so they could chant his name. He made one of two free throws with 9:30 left in the first half as the Wizards struggled to get back into the game. Oubre was making a return to the series after being suspended for Game 4 after his charge at Olynyk that knocked the Celtics’ big to the ground. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2017 NBA Playoffs, Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, NBA
Celtics outclassed again, show no toughness in latest brutal collapse to Wizards 05.07.17 at 8:57 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Celtics outclassed again, show no toughness in latest brutal collapse to Wizards

May 7, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) shoots as Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) and center Marcin Gortat (13) defend during the first quarter in game four of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Thomas shoots as Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) and center Marcin Gortat (13) defend during the first quarter in game four of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. (Brad Mills/USA Today Sports)

Well, give the Celtics this much: They waited a full half before they allowed the Wizards to crush them. 

Playoff caliber teams can get embarrassed every once in a while but what’s happening to the Celtics is inexcusable in any context. 

Three days after allowing a 22-0 spurt that allowed Washington to blow them out of the building, the Celtics outdid themselves, permitting the Wizards to score 26 straight points in an epic playoff meltdown.  

The Celtics lost Game 4 to the Wizards, 121-102, Sunday night at the Verizon Center. The Celtics lost a game because they quit in an embarrassing third quarter display. The Celtics lost a game in which they were outscored 58-20 after building a mirage of hope with a 40-28 second-quarter lead. 

The series is tied at 2-2 and the Celtics are lucky to be that close after allowing a 16-0 spurt to open the series in Game 1 and a 39-17 explosion by the Wizards in the first quarter of Game 2. Game 5 is set for Wednesday night in Boston. Game 6 will be Friday night back in Washington. 

All of this as Gerald Green was heard proclaiming, “We are going to beat their ass in Game 4,” after the Game 3 embarrassment last Thursday. Not quite the way it turned out. 

The Wizards again outclassed and embarrassed the Celtics on the glass and in the paint. The Wizards got into the paint with almost no resistance and despite starting Amir Johnson, there was zero presence on the glass. The Wizards outrebounded the Celtics, 45-31 and outscored Boston, 56-38, in the paint.  

“You guys are good. I didn’t think you’d be this good but let’s keep this up,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks told his team after they outscored Boston 42-20 in the third quarter. The Celtics self-destructed with nine turnovers in the third quarter, leading to 21 Wizards points, one more than the Celtics scored the entire period. 

“If you turn the ball over against these guys, you prefer to drop-kick it into the stands so you can at least set up your D,” Brad Stevens said after the game. 

The Wizards broke out to another fast start with an 8-0 run to start the game. But the Celtics took Washington’s punch this time and didn’t wait until the end of the first quarter to respond. 

(Click here for the full box score)

Isaiah Thomas connected on his first three 3-pointers while Al Horford had four assists and a block in the first eight minutes. Jae Crowder provided the toughness on the glass with four rebounds. 

Amir Johnson got his second start of the series and quickly picked up two fouls in the first five minutes. He also surrendered a pair of offensive rebounds to Marcin Gortat and was getting overwhelmed in the paint. 

After Washington got off another big start, the Celtics started coming back quickly. An 8-0 run put the Celtics ahead 20-15. 

Kelly Olynyk, fresh from his controversial appearance in Game 3, made his debut with two minutes left in the opening quarter. He was loudly booed every time he touched the ball, including a missed three with a minute left in the first quarter. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2017 NBA Playoffs, Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas, NBA
Wizards get nasty, fight back, Kelly Oubre shoves Kelly Olynyk, Celtics dominated in Game 3 loss 05.04.17 at 10:41 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Wizards get nasty, fight back, Kelly Oubre shoves Kelly Olynyk, Celtics dominated in Game 3 loss

May 4, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) leaps to pass the ball as Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk (41) defends in the first quarter in game three of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

John Wall and Kelly Olynyk were the center of attention in Washington’s blowout win in Game 3 Thursday. of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

There was no miracle comeback this time. There was no Wizards collapse.

There was only complete domination by Washington in a must-have game to make this Eastern Conference semifinal series competitive. 

John Wall had 24 points and eight assists while Otto Porter came out of the gates red-hot hitting his first seven shots and finishing with 17 points as the Wizards cruised to a 116-89 win at the Verizon Center in Washington Thursday night in Game 3. After 53 points Tuesday in Game 2 and 33 points in Game 1, Isaiah Thomas was held to 13 points and did not play the fourth quarter. 

The Wizards dominated the paint, outscoring the Celtics, 56-28, Marcin Gortat finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds. 

There was a near-brawl, pushing, shoving, trash-talking and three ejections that will set the tone for the rest of the series and undoubtedly up the ante going forward.  

In an ever-growing intense, physical battle between the two Eastern Conference rivals, Kelly Oubre took serious objection from a pair of screens set by Kelly Olynyk midway through the second quarter. Oubre got up off the court and immediately ran at Olynyk and shoved him to the court. 

That earned Oubre an immediate Flagrant 2 foul and ejection and no doubt, will merit a review from the league to determine his availability for Game 4 Sunday night in Washington. NBA director of discipline Kiki Vandeweghe was in attendance Thursday and will no doubt be busy reviewing the case in the next 24 hours. 

The Celtics have been remarkably consistent in the first quarter in this series. Remarkably bad. This time there was no coming back. The Celtics again were blown off the floor in the first quarter thanks to a 22-0 run that turned a 12-12 game into a 34-12 rout. 

Bojan Bogdanovic connected on all three 3-point attempts and John Wall and Bradley Beal attacked Isaiah Thomas in half-court and scored easy buckets in transition as the Wizards literally ran away from the Celtics for a third straight first quarter. 

The Wizards led 39-17 after the first 12 minutes. In the first three games of this series, the Wizards have outscored the Celtics 38-24, 42-29 and 39-17. 

The Oubre-Olynyk scuffle wasn’t the only confrontation in the first half. Jonas Jerebko attacked the basket on a drive and collided with big man Ian Mahinmi, seeing his first action of the series. Jerebko fell on Mahinmi and the Wizards big man took exception, getting up in Jerebko’s face. 

(For a full boxscore, click here)

Brad Stevens told ESPN after the first quarter that “we have to wake up before we have a chance to come back.” Stevens then told his team in the huddle that they weren’t going to get back in the game by “hitting home runs.” Apparently, Avery Bradley and Al Horford threw caution to the wind, hitting consecutive threes that temporarily cut Washington’s lead to 19, 55-36. But the Wizards attacked the paint on the next two possessions, driving the lead back to 23. The Wizards took a 63-40 lead to the half. 

The Celtics cut the lead to 18 to open the third quarter. But the Celtics missed their next six shots. 

Isaiah Thomas did not start the second half as Dr. Brian McKeon tended to his temporary bridge in his mouth.

The Wizards went up by 30, 85-55, on a John Wall three-point play with 4:07 to go in the third quarter. Wall set a new NBA playoff record in which he’s had 20 points and at least seven assists in 10 straight games.  

Stevens started resting his players late in the third quarter as Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford and Jae Crowder took a seat with the Celtics down 93-66 with a minute left in the third. 

The Celtics were again brutal on the offensive glass all night. They were careless taking care of the ball. Marcus Smart finished with eight turnovers in 21 minutes as Washington took a 95-69 lead into the fourth. 

With eight minutes left in the game, Terry Rozier and Brandon Jennings exchanged shoves, fouls and verbal insults. The initial contact drew the ire of Brad Stevens, telling the officials “that was all Jennings.” On the next play, Rozier was called for shoving Jennings to the ground and a foul was called on Rozier, causing Stevens to lose it on the sidelines in a rare moment of outrage. 

Rozier and Jennings were ejected from the game. 

The Celtics were beaten in nearly every aspect of the game Thursday night. During a timeout midway through the fourth quarter, Stevens kept reminding his team that there was something to play for, even down 19. 

“In games like this, you find out what you can take with you,” Stevens said in the huddle. “We’re taking something from this quarter to apply Sunday, regardless.”

The Celtics still lead the series, 2-1, and can take a 3-1 lead back to Boston if they capture Game 4 Sunday night in Washington. Game 5 is set for Wednesday night at 8 p.m. at TD Garden. 

Gerald Green, who returned to the starting lineup Thursday after not playing in Game 2, left a calling card for Sunday as he was leaving the court after the drubbing. 

“We’re going to beat their ass in Game 4,” Green proclaimed. 

Read More: 2017 NBA Playoffs, Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas, Kelly Olynyk
Celtics Box Score
Celtics Schedule
Celtics Headlines
NBA Headlines