So close. But still so far.
John Wall stood atop the scorer's table, popping his jersey, yelling and celebrating his three-pointer with 3.5 seconds left for the go-ahead basket that pushed Washington NBA Eastern Conference semi-final against Boston to a game seven.
The winners of game seven will face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Isaiah Thomas had one last shot for the win, but his tightly contested, off-balance 3-pointer was off the mark as time expired.
After Bradley and Beal traded shots to even it at 89, the Celtics had the ball and, coming out of a timeout with 14.1 seconds remaining, Al Horford made a 16-foot bank shot for the lead. The not-so-subtle jab mimicked Washington's all-black wardrobe ahead of the January 24 matchup, but Boston could not back up its bluster. "A guy like John Wall you're not gonna stop.He does a hell of a job on him".
Wall had only hit 29.9 percent of his pull-up 3-pointers this season, according to NBA.com. I think we eliminate those runs and cut down on our turnovers, that puts us in a better position to win those games. "I mean, I had nowhere to go". But the battles within the larger battle haven't distracted from the remarkable play by Wall and Thomas.
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Jenna Collins, Larkin, and O'Sullivan accounted for all six of the team's assists with each player dishing out two helpers. HPU was one-and-done in its two previous trips to the tournament, in 2013 and 2014. "I felt good", Perez said.
Beal had a game-high 33 points despite missing 7 of 8 3-pointers. "I wanted to take the open shots that were there and make plays for guys". We treat every game like we're in a fight. "We're going to guard it as hard as we can and shake his hand and move on". He and Avery Bradley each had 27 points. While the Wizards had the appearance of a good ball movement - all 10 field goals came from assists - the offense still lacked a certain beat. Trying to reach the East finals for the first time since 2012. They were poor from three-point range (20.8%) and bad from the foul line (61.9%). That was not the case early in Game 6. But some defensive lapses by the Wizards followed, and the Celtics scored the next 10 points en route to going up 42-41 at halftime.
Wall was not efficient, shooting just 9 of 25 from the floor, but he traded his broken jumper for deadly daggers when the game counted.
Celtics players Avery Bradley and Gerald Green both insisted that the fashion choice was not planned. He had to just be better than Thomas who had 27 points but it took 24 shots. Oddly, just three of Beal's points came from a three-pointer, but it was a huge shot. The Wizards as a whole started 1 for 15 from beyond the arc. He scored 13 in the period as Washington entered the fourth trailing 69-66. Wall's slow start was certainly an example of that, but there were bigger issues.
Boston were up 87-82, but could not hold on.
Beal took over at the beginning of the fourth quarter by aggressively getting to the rim for three straight layups.
John Wall is a heat-seeking missile that will either find his way to the basket or create an easy bucket for a teammate with nearly absolute certainty.