Washington Wizards: 3 adjustments to make in Game 6
The Washington Wizards are still without a road victory in their series against the Boston Celtics. Here are three adjustments to make to get a victory.
Just when it looked like the Washington Wizards had the Boston Celtics all figured out, things changed once again in Game 5. Now, the Wizards’ season is on the line Friday night. After falling 123-101 to the Celtics on Wednesday night, Washington looks to bounce back at home.
The Wizards did well to contain the Celtics’ best player, Isaiah Thomas. Thomas was held to just 18 points in Game 5, but he also had nine assists and three rebounds. However, Washington forgot to account for shooting guard Avery Bradley.
Bradley poured in a game-high 29 points, shooting 12-for-19 from the floor and 4-for-7 from three. He shot 63.2 percent in the game, which spoke more to the easy shots he got than the intense defense Washington played.
The Wizards allowed Boston to make 16 three-pointers and score 46 points in the paint. It is just the second time in the playoffs Washington has allowed an opponent to make more than 15 three-pointers against them.
With elimination on the horizon, the Washington Wizards will need to change a few things to get a home victory. Washington has won just one road game so far in the 2017 NBA Playoffs, but they are 5-0 at the Verizon Center.
3. Be consistent on defense on every player
The Washington Wizards have done a great job containing Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas. They’ve held Thomas below 20 points in the last three games of this series. However, other players have emerged as primary options with Thomas doing more to distribute the ball. Thomas has recorded 18 assists in the past three games.
In Game 5, Boston shooting guard Avery Bradley had 29 points. Mainly a defensive specialist, Bradley hadn’t had a 20-point scoring outburst since Game 6 in the first round of the playoffs against the Chicago Bulls. His hot shooting performance shows that on any given night, anybody can lead this team to victory.
After a hot shooting night, its apparent the Wizards need to add some extra incentive for stopping Bradley. It didn’t help the Celtics scored 19 points on the fastbreak while holding Washington to just 14 points in transition. They’ll need to improve their defensive transition or they’ll be vacationing a little earlier than they’d like.
2. Win the fastbreak battle
The Washington Wizards looked shell-shocked for most of their game against the Celtics. For the first time all series, the Wizards lost every quarter to Boston in Game 5. They need to get back to their winning ways and it starts on the break.
On the road, Washington has allowed 17.7 fastbreak points this series. At home, they’ve allowed just 9.0 fastbreak points. Tonight will give the Wizards a chance to adjust the transition game, something they’ve done well to control before Game 5.
Washington is averaging 19.5 fastbreak points per game against the Celtics this series. While it mostly starts with John Wall pushing the pace, it helps Washington’s case when he has more than four assists.
Wall’s four assists in Game 5 were his second-lowest output of the season. He had just three assists in a 105-94 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Nov. 11.
When Wall gets the ball to his teammates and keeps his assists up, the Wizards typically win. They’ll need more of that in Game 6 to avoid elimination.
1. Win the points in the paint battle
The Washington Wizards went away from their bread-and-butter in Game 5 and of course, it worked against them. In Game 6, they need to focus on finishing buckets in the paint.
Shooting guard Bradley Beal went 0-for-4 from three-point range. He went without a made three for the first time since April 22, when the Wizards faced the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs.
Beal largely struggled with his shot, going 7-for-19 from the floor in the game, but the easiest fix for that is to take the ball to the basket and be aggressive. The same can be said for Markieff Morris, Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre Jr. The trio went a combined 3-for-14 from the three-point line in Game 5.
It’s no secret the Wizards haven’t been the best three-point shooting team in the NBA Playoffs. They’re shooting just 32.3 percent from three in the playoffs.
The Washington Wizards aren’t going to outshoot anybody from the three-point line. However, when the team is locked in, they’re playing stifling defense and getting easy buckets in transition. If they can do that in Game 6, victory is surely there for the taking.