Throughout Game 6, no one could really tell who was going to take that game. The teams went back and forth trading leads all the way until the end of regulation. Whenever it seemed like either the Washington Wizards or Boston Celtics were going to pull away, the other would pull themselves right back into it. Then, with 1:30 left on the clock, the Celtics had the ball and a five point lead, Isaiah Thomas got trapped and turned it over, and the Wizards responded with five quick points to tie it. Celtics answered back with a long jump shot from Al Horford, but a go-ahead 3 with 3.5 seconds left by John Wall gave the Wizards a Game 6 win to send it to Game 7 in Boston. Here’s what the Celtics need to do to close this one out at home in a win or go home situation for both teams.
The Bench Needs to Show Up:
Game 6 was abysmal for the Celtics’ bench. The second team only combined for 5 points for Brad Stevens and Boston, and that might have been a reason they lost the game in the first place.
Even with the Wizards giving their bench significantly less time, they put up 13 points in the game. Marcus Smart, who played 28 minutes, only scored one single point without making a shot on three attempts. His production needs to be better offensively for Boston to take this game.
Jaylen Brown, who once had the look of a promising young player, has showed little to no potential on the offensive side of the ball, averaging only 2.8 points a game in the playoffs on top of a 37.8% field goal percentage and a 20% 3-point percentage. He scored no points in Game 6, missing all five of the shots he took. Brown needs to focus on what he does well until his shot comes into place, and that’s his athleticism and finishing ability around the hoop. Brown has been too shot happy and needs to use his driving ability more as Boston needs that kick off the bench.
IT Needs to be IT:
Isaiah Thomas has been a shell of himself in the last four games.
After averaging 43 points per game through the first two games, including a 53-point effort in Game 2, Thomas has just averaged 19.3 points over the last four.
Getting no higher than 27, and being held under 20 for three straight games from Games 3 to 5, Thomas has struggled to get open shots and get the looks in the paint he’s accustomed too.
Thomas needs to use his teammates to get more open shots, and use more off ball cutting rather than using isolation against the bigger guards of the Wizards. There are a lot of times where he is mismatched against a big on the perimeter, and that’s when Thomas should use his isolation ability. Off ball movement to create open shots on the perimeter for himself will the best way for him to be successful.
Whether it be Thomas finding himself, or the bench starting to contribute, the Celtics need this win in the TD Garden. If they were too lose, not only might the team see major changes (Jae Crowder and other less significant players might find themselves on the way out to make room for another star), but questions will be asked about Thomas’ ability to be a franchise player, and Stevens’ ability to close out a series. Let’s hope the Celtics find success in Game 7.