I don’t know about you but I’ve seen enough from Washington to say that they got this in the bag. Yes, both teams won at home and the Celtics have home court but it’s the way the games went down. Game 1 was in the Wizards control before the Morris injury and Game 2 should’ve been a dub for the Wizards, but nonetheless took Boston overtime and a 53 point performance by Thomas to win. I think it’s safe to say Thomas isn’t scoring 50 anymore in this series. Comparatively to Washington who has been constantly up and winning by 20 on their home turf. Scott Brook and John Wall are the reasons they’ll take it in what I think to be just six games.
If we look at how IT went off for the 53 points it was really just inexcusable. You look at the tape and you don’t need to be Coach K to figure out what the hell is going on. The Wizards were switching the likes of Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris on the 5’8 Thomas. YEAH? No wonder he scored 53! He’s fucking small for regular person standards no need to put the twin towers on him. It was infuriating to watch but thank god Scott Brooks made the simple adjustment.
What Brooks did was simply stop switching on the pick and roll with Thomas. Yeah, no shit Thomas is going to go off when he’s got guys twice his size trying to stay with him. But keeping Wall and Beal on him has been the key even if it means going under screens at times. Sure, he’ll make his fair share of 3’s but Boston is really dangerous when he gets in the paint and gets to the line. Also when he beats his man and people help this clears the floor for the likes of Bradley, Crowder, and crew in open shots from deep.
Another aspect they’ve improved on is playing him physical. Sorry IT, you’re gonna get bumped and you can’t just fly to the ground each time and cry about not getting the call. This is a big man’s sport for a reason. But that’s what he does if you haven’t noticed. Every time he god forbid gets touched it’s like a reenactment of the JFK assassination. Dude acts like he’s been sniped by Lee Harvey Oswald. This ain’t soccer my friend.
Thomas has been the focal point on the opposing side of the ball as well, defensively. The first two games they let him hide in the corner and just didn’t do anything about it. I was dumbfounded because you know statistically he is the WORST defender in the entire NBA. But now Brooks ain’t letting that shit fly. Brooks has told Bogdanovic, Oubre, and Porter if guarded by him, to attack him. Post him up, find your spot and take your shot. Those players are a combined 27-42 over Games 3 and 4. That’s 64.2%, clearly, it’s working.
Lastly, John Wall is the second best player in the Eastern Conference, NOT Isiah Thomas. Fun fact Wall has scored 20+ points and 7+ assists in 10 straight playoff games making him the only person to ever do so. The record was previously held by MJ with 8 of those such games. Thomas may explode for more points but Wall is the better passer and pure point guard. He’s obviously a much better defender, an area I don’t think gets talked about enough in his game. He’s due for at least one chase down block a game and is one if not the best two-way point guards in the league.
Wall’s mental toughness is also bar none. After starting 0-9 from the field his confidence did not waver in Game 4. Shooting 9-12 for the remainder of the game he orchestrated a 26-0 run where he was “wizardly”, to say the least. A game in which they trailed by as many as 13 ended up being a 19 point victory and it really wasn’t that close. John Wall has lightning speed but it is his sage-like ways which gives him the ultimate edge against his competitors.
My prediction is Washington will win a relatively close game tonight in Boston. Then they’ll give em the ol’ 1-2 knockout punch in Washington. Even if they don’t win game 5, they CAN win in Boston. Boston can simply not even merely compete in Washington. Sticking to my guns and original prediction, Wizards in 6.