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The Washington Wizards look to bounce back in Game 2 and avenge their Game 1 breakdown. Washington jumped out to a 16-0 lead and even stretched it to as much as 17 but the Boston Celtics went on a hot streak lead by Isaiah Thomas’ 33 points and nine assist. The Celtics hit 19 3-pointers as they won 123-11. There will be a lot of questions answered in the next game as we will see if Boston can keep the hot shooting going.
Keys To The Game
The Wizards two stars, John Wall (20 points and 16 assist) and Bradley Beal (27 points) had very good games but if they continue to be the only players producing, they will have a short series. Spreading the wealth around across the team will be beneficial for Washington. If they can dominate inside-out then it will exploit the Celtics lack of size in the front court. This means Wall and company needs to attack the rim and then attack the boards for put backs and more.
Defensively, close out on the 3-point shooters but having them attempt as many threes might work in the Wizards favor. Leaving driving lanes for Boston can result in easy baskets which will build confidence and then the barrage of 3-pointers will eventually start going in. Also whoever is guarding the man that’s setting a pick for Thomas has to jump out much quicker to slow down Thomas so that Wall or the player guarding him has time to catch up.
Shooting from behind the arch is Boston’s bread-and-butter. It’s no secret but if they are not hitting then that could be a problem. Of course Thomas will need to continue to be aggressive getting to the basket but it would behoove the Celtics to use Al Horford’s versatility to create and score. If the 3-pointers are not falling, they can’t continue to shoot. The pick-and-roll has to be effective enough to continue to create match-up problems off the switch.
On defense, the Celtics has to do a better job of getting the ball out of Wall’s hands. Like the Wizards, they can’t afford to leave open shooters but they have to pick their poison since the interior defense isn’t that good. If they force the Wizards to a particular side of the court, their help defense, which is their strength, can help them to jump the passing lanes which will result in steals and instant offense.
The X-Factor for the Wizards is guard Brandon Jennings. Jennings was a no show in the first game. Although he needs to recover to get his confidence going, the team needs him more. Their bench has been weak so it causes Wall not to get the proper rest a team would need him to get. Jennings can use his quickness and speed to create for others and himself. This can get the bench going as well as buy some time for Wall and Bradley Beal.
The X-Factor for the Celtics is Kelly Olynyk. Olynyk has the ability to stretch the defense and still be able to play inside. His presence might be more important than his numbers due to the fact that he can remove the big man outside the paint which will allow the guards to rebound for the Celtics. If he does hit a couple of 3-pointers, then he might be able to use the pump-fake to get a layup.
Predictions: Washington seemed to lose confidence once they got down after the big lead. Boston took advantage. This shouldn’t happen again and Washington should hold on. Wizards win 101-92.