Avery Bradley's defense has been key ingredient for Celtics

Beth Cruz
May 14, 2017

As well as Boston played in Game 5, it's going to be hard for them to have a repeat performance and close out the series in Game 6.

Leave it to Markieff Morris to explain this Eastern Conference matchup between the Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics, a series lacking symmetry and any trace of predictability. The Celtics dealt the Wizards a 123-101 loss in game five to put them in the driver's seat for the series.

The game will be live-streamed through WatchESPN for those viewing on mobile and tablet devices.

Series: Celtics lead 3-2. Boston's role players showed up Wednesday night and filled up the scoring column of the box score. Offensively, inconsistent perimeter shooting and a lack of individual creativity has haunted the Celtics. Isaiah Thomas is averaging 24.9 points and 5.9 assists while Al Horford is averaging 15.8 points and 7.7 rebounds.

Avery Bradley tallied a postseason career high 29 points in the blowout as Boston can now advance to meet the Cleveland Cavaliers in the next round with a victory Friday in Washington. Avery Bradley scored 25 of his 29 points in the first half and fueled a 16-0 run in the first quarter that gave the Celtics all the breathing room they needed.

Of course, the Celtics and Wizards play four games against each other every season in addition to the soon-to-be six playoff games this series, so both teams are well aware of each other's style of play. "We just beat their (butts) two times in a row". Despite the skepticism that their inability to defend against Horford as the primary ballhandler was not a fatal blow, it really does come down to who wins the transition race. If they double-team me, then I need to look for a shooter. They made adjustments, it must have been something they saw in the film, and they killed us with it in the first quarter. "We knew that they were going to come out aggressive and they did". But Bradley Beal (4.6 to 1.6), Ian Mahinmi (6.3 to 3.4) and Marcin Gortat (2.5 to 1.8) also get worse away from home, indicating the problem is more than just the Celtics keeping the ball away from Wall. It was a classic case of offense creating defense.

More hustle by Washington helped push Boston's turnover rate to 18 percent when it is on the road and the Wizards' points off turnovers per game to 25.5 in this series. Add in the fact that they have been able to get under the Celtics skin over the last two seasons, and you can see why the C's have struggled at times. A similar start on Friday night would amplify the pressure on Washington, and could take them out of the game early. Here's the real kicker-and get ready for this-the Celtics actually outrebounded the Wizards 48-45, something that played a huge role in Boston controlling the pace and scoring a ton of points on fast breaks. Everything's on the table, and if the Wizards don't play with more strength and more emotion, their goose is cooked.

Boston can still win this series and will look to do so tonight, but the Wizards have their backs against the wall and will be fighting for their playoff lives.

That was the sign of a mature, confident team, overcoming a hostile environment and getting the job done in a closeout game.

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