John Wall got all the glory after Game 6 when he hit a go ahead three-pointer with 3.3 seconds remaining. "So it's a great opportunity for us tonight, and I know that if we come out playing the same way we played last game, we'll have a chance to be smiling, laughing, just like we were after the Chicago series". Wall and Bradley Beal combined to score Washington's final 10 points, including Wall's three with 3.5 seconds left. Call it "Funeral Game: The Sequel", only this one was much more important.
The victor of game seven will tip off in the National Basketball Association semi-final series Wednesday in Cleveland.
The Wizards defeated the Boston Celtics 92-91 in Game 6 to force a series-deciding Game 7.
"He's a victor", Wizards Coach Scott Brooks said. "Seems like it was meant to be". John Wall had 21 points on 7-of-17 shooting. Both players tallied 48 points on just 28 shots.
Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley each finished with 27 points to lead the Celtics, but it appeared as though Al Horford (20 points, six rebounds) who looked like he was going to play the hero. "I have to do a better job in that situation", said Thomas.
Like the rest of his teammates, he was left to get back into his dark outfit afterward.
The Celtics came dressed to kill in all black wardrobes on their way to the locker room, something not unnoticed by Wall, as he spoke to ESPN's Lisa Salters moments after the game-winning shot. "They should have been motivated by everything else".
After the Celtics' series-clinching, 22-point win at Chicago in the first round, Bradley was asked about some outward emotion he exhibited during the game. Boston were up 87-82, but could not hold on. "We couldn't finish it". But Bradley Beal was there all game long. Wall isn't at his best firing from beyond the arc - and he started the game 1 of 12 from the field. The Celtics went on a 12-1 run, to end the second and take the lead; 42-41.
"This is my life", Wall said of keeping the Wizards' hopes of a spot in the Eastern Conference finals alive. "It's Game 6 and their season was on the line, just like we're motivated for Game 7".
So how can the Celtics steal a game in D.C. and end the series before heading back to The Garden? Trying to reach the East finals for the first time since 2012. For him, it was Eastern Conference finals or failure. The Wizards' other starting forward, Otto Porter, was scoreless in 36 minutes.
Celtics and Wizards have played nine times this year, and the home team has won all nine games - with Boston 5-0 at home, where it has won eight straight over Washington. Joked Brooks on Thursday: "I'll take a 25-point run". "I think we have that trademarked". Totals 32-79 16-18 91. In the third quarter, their best shots were Markieff Morris 3-pointers that kept falling short.
Lopsided results had dominated this first postseason series between Boston and Washington since 1984, with each game decided by at least 10 points.