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Wall’s game-winner forces Game 7

May 13, 2017
#WizCeltics Photos |  Box Score

With their backs against the wall, John Wall hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds left to force a Game 7 against the Celtics. Washington won the game 92-91 in what was mainly a defensive battle and offensive struggle for both teams. Bradley Beal scored a game-high 33 points to go along with Wall's 26 points and eight assists and Markieff Morris's 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Wizards turn their attention now to Game 7 in Boston on Monday night. 

Breaking down the final possessions

The Wizards came back to tie the game 87-87 after all the momentum was shifting to the Celtics. Bradley Beal hit a clutch 3-pointer after Washington forced a key turnover to help get the game back in reach. Avery Bradley gave the Celtics an 89-87 lead with 39.0 seconds to go out of a timeout. The Wizards turned to Beal on their next opportunity, who would bank in a shot near the cylinder with 28.7 seconds left. Al Horford nailed a clutch jump bank shot with 7.9 seconds, and the Wizards trailed 91-89. Out of the timeout, John Wall was looking for Beal, but the Celtics covered him well. Wall decided to fire a 3-pointer and nailed it with 3.9 seconds left, giving the Wizards a 92-91 lead with one of the most clutch shots in franchise history. Kelly Oubre Jr. fouled Kelly Olynyk on the floor to stop him from taking the game back, and it ended up being an unsung play of the game as the Wizards still had a foul to give. With 1.7 seconds left, Thomas missed a tough 3-point shot and the Wizards survived.  The forced turnover of Thomas, Beal's 3-pointer, Oubre's foul, and Wall's 3-pointer were all huge plays that led to the win. 

“The last play was really for me to get to the corner and Brad [Beal] come open," Wall said postgame. "He didn’t get the opportunity to get open and I didn’t want to get a five-second violation. So I came and got the ball from Otto [Porter Jr.] and looked the defender in the eye and took a shot I work on and it went in.

"To get on the scorer’s table it was for how much love I have for this city, how much love I have for my teammates, how much fight we have. Never quitting. A lot of people doubted us in this series, after going down 2-0. A lot of guys doubted us winning this game at home. The last two year’s we were in the playoffs we lost Game Six here and we just had a lot of heart. I just wanted the city to know that we love them for all the support they give us and they’re amazing fans.”

Beal, Wall lead charge

Bradley Beal scored a game-high 33 points on 15/26 shooting, including 14/18 on his 2-point attempts. His 3-point shooting was not there tonight, but the one 3-pointer he did make was the clutch triple described above. Beal was getting everything he wanted at the rim and had five assists to only one turnover. Beal also was the prominent defender on Thomas, who only made eight of his 24 shots. Without Beal's performance, the Wizards would not have won this game.

John Wall started the game 1/11, but ended up making eight of his last 16 shots, including that game-winner. He may have struggled out of the gates, but Wall put together another clutch performance in these playoffs. Wall finished with 26 points and eight assists in the game, but was also active defensively especially in the fourth quarter to lead the win. Wall scored 23 of his 26 points in the second half.

Beal and Wall scored 42 of the team's final 51 points, which shows how big their performances were. Keef Morris had the only nine points. 

Morris, frontcourt come up big defensively

Speaking of Morris, he had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Considering he's been nursing an ankle injury all series, his minutes were enormous once again. Morris played almost 40 tough minutes on the floor and was an enforcer defensively. He contested 16 of his man's 18 shots and held his matchup to 6/18 (33.3%) shooting on the night. 

"Keef’s [Markieff Morris] minutes were tremendous all game long," Brooks said. "He’s been nursing an ankle injury, but never, not once, has he made an excuse. I’m proud of that."

Morris, Marcin Gortat, and Otto Porter Jr. combined for nine of the team's 11 offensive rebounds. Those possession-extending rebounds led to the Wizards' 16 second chance points, 11 more than Boston's five. Ian Mahinmi (15 minutes) and Jason Smith (7 minutes) also played big minutes with Gortat in foul trouble, especially defensively for Mahinmi. The Wizards' out-rebounded the Celtics 59-47 overall in the game and outscored the Celtics 48-26 in the paint. 

Other notes

- Washington improved to 6-0 at Verizon Center this postseason. The Wizards are now 23-5 at home since January 1 st, including the playoffs.

- Wall continued his streak of 20+ in every game this postseason. He is one of five players in franchise history to score 20+ in at least 12 playoff games in a single postseason joining Bob Dandridge, Elvin Hayes (3x), Phil Chenier, and Earl Monroe.

- Beal’s 33 points are the most points by a Wizards player in a win when facing elimination since Jeff Malone had 35 points in Game 3 of the 1988 Eastern Conference 1 st Round vs. Pistons (best-of-five).

- The Wizards will play in a Game 7 for the first time since the 1979 Eastern Conference Finals (won, 107-105 over the Spurs). Washington is 6-3 all-time in Game 7.
 
NEXT: Game 7 - Monday 8:00pm at Celtics

INACTIVES

Wizards – Chris McCullough, Daniel Ochefu

Celtics – Demetrius Jackson, Jordan Mickey

WIZARDS STATS   

Shooting %: 43.0% (37/86)

3-point %: 20.8% (5/24)

FT %: 61.9% (13/21)

Assists: 20

Rebounds: 59 (11 OREB)        

Turnovers: 12

CELTICS STATS   

Shooting %: 40.5% (32/79)

3-point %: 31.4% (11/35)

FT %: 88.9% (16/18)

Assists: 25

Rebounds: 47 (7 OREB)        

Turnovers: 11

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