The Washington Wizards’ John Wall came up huge against the Boston Celtics in a Game 4 win.
John Wall’s monster night of 27 points, 12 assists, and 5 steals downs the Boston Celtics in Game 4. The Celtics will have to forge a plan that can stop Wall in Game 5 or their hopes of success will dwindle. Wall swerved around defenders making them look silly all night and has been averaging 27.8 points, 12.3 assists, and 2.3 rebounds a game this series.
Although Wall has been unstoppable this series and in the 2017 NBA Playoffs altogether, he could not be doing it without Markieff Morris, his power forward. Morris has been +65 in the series averaging +16.3 a game. The only Washington Wizard to have a positive rating in every game this series, Morris is averaging 11.8 points, 6 rebounds, and 1.5 steals a game. He’s brought a needed toughness that was lacking in Game 1 when he found himself in foul trouble, while promptly landing a seat on the bench. He has been the X-factor in the series as he poses a difficult matchup for the Celtics 4 every night. Gerald Green doesn’t have the size to compete in the paint and Amir Johnson doesn’t have the quickness to defend him on the perimeter. He’s another guy Brad Stevens and the Celtics will need to game plan for coming into Game 5 Wednesday night in Boston.
Although Isaiah Thomas has been unguardable this series averaging 29.5 points and 5.5 assists per game, while shooting 48.4% from the three-point line, the Celtics have found themselves in blowouts in back to back games even after taking a 2-0 lead to start the series.
The story of the last two losses for the Celtics has been the abysmal play by their starters and the surprisingly impressive play by their bench. In Game 4 the Celtics’ starting five averaged a -23.6 rating in the game, while their bench of Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Kelly Olynyk, Gerald Green, and Jaylen Brown averaged a +2.8 rating.
Brad Stevens will have to start dishing guard Terry Rozier more playing time as he has been averaging a +11 rating per game, but has only been given 17.5 minutes each battle. That may seem like a lot for the third man off the bench for the Celtics, but when a guy has playing this good he has to be receiving at least 20 minutes a game. Maybe it’s the defensive spark he brings to the floor, or maybe it’s his chemistry with the guys around him that help the Celts put the ball in the hoop, but Terry Rozier has been BIG for the Celtics in the 2017 NBA Playoffs.
Another question for Game 5 is if Brad Stevens will go with Amir Johnson or Gerald Green to start at the 4 position Wednesday night. Neither have looked very efficient in this series so it wouldn’t be surprising if Stevens ended up giving Kelly Olynyk the green light. Olynyk is averaging almost 9 points a game this series and adds another threat from deep while on the floor. Measuring in at 7 feet, 238 lbs he gives the Celtics another big body in the paint as the Celtics have gotten killed on the boards in the last two games.
Wednesday night will also mark the return of Kelly Oubre Jr. for the Wizards. After being suspended in Game 4 in reaction to his knockdown of Olynyk in Game 3 Oubre gives the Wizards needed depth on their bench. In Game 5 the Wizards bench averaged a -7 rating, while their top three bench players who got 51 combined minutes averaged a -10.3 rating each. Look for Oubre to give Washington’s bench a spark.
Tempers have been flaring all series and Game 5 is sure to bring some hard fouls and its fair share of trash talk as the Celtics look to get back on top after their poor turnouts the last two times these teams met. Be ready for a high scoring battle as the last 2 games in Boston both teams surpassed 110 points. Tensions are high between these two teams, who knows what will happen in Game 5 Wednesday night.