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losangelesnewstoday.com September 24, 2017


Thomas lobbies for calls with Celtics-Wizards series tied

08 May 2017, 03:34 | Stacy Ballard

For the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas was splendid early but cooled down quickly. The gap has only increased over the past two games. But we all feel like we are the better team, even to start the series. We know we can. "When you're on the road, you can't have those turnvoers".

If you want to be really basic, extra careful, you will conclude only that the Washington Wizards won two home games over the past four days to even an antagonistic series that is far from finished.

Celtics: It's the first time in Thomas' playoff career that he has fallen short of 20 points in consecutive games.

This is a most lopsided 2-2 series, and the fact that it's 2-2 serves as a reminder of how fickle the playoffs can be.

Well, give the Celtics this much: They waited a full half before they allowed the Wizards to crush them. Washington blew out the Celtics as they defeated them, 89-116. Being a shot away from splitting in Boston gives the Wizards confidence they can win there. Horford nailed a straightaway three to put Boston up, 40-28, with seven minutes left in the first half. Then the seperation was created.

Both teams feature matchups that present challenges to the Cavaliers, with Boston's feisty point guard Isiah Thomas among the league's best fourth quarter scorers, and Washington's backcourt duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal boasting blazing speed and quickness to the rim. "We realized at halftime that we weren't defending the way we were capable of".

"No matter what, I've gotta play the same way", said Thomas. "That's why we're able to get out in transition and get open shots, get open layups". On top of that we converted, we're one of the best teams in the league at converting off turnovers. Game 6 will be Friday night back in Washington.

Thomas had no answers.

Thomas complained that the referees allowed the Wizards to play a physical style. "I think, especially in that third quarter, I might have hit the ground five or six straight times, and I'm not the one that likes hitting the ground".

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The real story of this game was pace - the Rockets were running again, and the Spurs again got sucked into playing fast for stretches. None of the three has the foot speed, lateral movement or shot-blocking to discourage Wall. G Avery Bradley and F Jae Crowder each shot 2 of 9.

Houston made 22 3-pointers in a blowout win in Game 1, but had struggled from long-range in its two losses.

Removing him from the equation is the linchipin to all the good things that happened Sunday.

But did you see how they did it? How can you make a shot? It's just basically what we've been doing, and just trying to get the ball out of his hands.

Though nothing compared to eight technical fouls and three ejections in Game 3, tensions bubbled up late after the result was no longer in doubt. The primary defender, usually Beal or Wall, locked and trailed from behind on screens and handoffs and a frontline player pinched in to funnel him into the big in the middle that typically was Gortat.

Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) slam-dunks over Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) during the second half of Game 4 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series in Toronto, Sunday, May 7, 2017.

Thomas' off-balance rainbows didn't hit the mark. Thomas finished eighth in the National Basketball Association in total free throws attempted this season. They also didn't slow the Rockets transition game. The liability that he's posing on the defensive end gets bigger with each passing game.

"Our goal is just take him out of the game and just continue to be physical with him", Beal said. Guys went to the hole and got hit a little bit on lay-ups, they were fouls.



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