5 takeaways from Game 3 against Boston Celtics — Washington Wizards

John Wall got his side back in the series by scoring 24 points for the Washington Wizards

KEEP AN EYE ON: The start after the Wizards went up 16-0 in Game 1 and 16-8 in Game 2, leading Celtics coach Brad Stevens to tell his team in the huddle, "Hey we're eight points better than last time". Yes, with the backcourt duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal the Wizards like to get out in transition, but they've also showed a willingness - maybe even an eagerness - to physically mix it up.

His team had just been whacked, blown away by a 22-0 Wizards' run in the first quarter of Game 3, and the Celtics coach made Friday's team workouts optional. The Washington Wizards are going to win this game at home. We feel like we can win (in Boston).

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - One of Gregg Popovich's top priorities in the final weeks of the regular season was making sure the San Antonio Spurs got veteran point guard Tony Parker healthy and in rhythm for the playoff push.

In the third quarter, Washington turned a competitive game into a laugher. One of which featured a playoff career-high 53 point, 12 of 13 shooting performance by Isaiah Thomas.

Unlike the first two games, Washington wouldn't look back and held on to their 20-point lead for the rest of the game.

"We don't like them and they don't like us", Boston's All-Star guard stated bluntly.

The Celtics lead would actually swell to 12 and then it was as if a switch went off in Wall's head, and he had enough.

"It was all our defense".

Tensions boiled over in a contentious, technical foul-filled Game 3 Thursday night as the Wizards rode another hot start to a 116-89 victory that cut their series deficit to 2-1. "We realized at halftime that we weren't defending the way we were capable of". Al Horford led Boston with 16 points. We were able to force a lot of turnovers. He was tossed from Game 3 for charging and knocking over Kelly Olynyk.

Thomas had no answers.

"[The Wizards] were very physical", he said. "The refs were allowing them to hold and grab and do all those things", said Thomas.

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Thomas had six turnovers for the game. Jae Crowder provided the toughness on the glass with four rebounds.

Rozier was coming off the best game of his National Basketball Association career in Game 2, having delivered 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists - as well as an enormous 3-pointer that tied the score at 110-110 in the fourth - in the Celtics' overtime victory.

Removing him from the equation is the linchipin to all the good things that happened Sunday.

"When they are small, we have to dominate them on the boards", Morris said after the game. "He's a small guy so at the end of the day if you've got three players around you, how can you make the pass?"

WinnersView.com brings stories and statistics together to make you smarter about the sports and games you love. His postgame comment came shortly after Thomas' turn at the podium.

"I knew my knee was just locking up a little bit".

Thomas' off-balance rainbows didn't hit the mark.

The free-throw line is where Thomas shines, as he shot 90 percent from there, second-best among eligible players. By keeping their hands up rather than outward, they didn't get whistles going against them.

The first quarter of Game 4 could dictate where this game eventually ends up.

"No question that has been a major issue against them for most teams", said Stevens. "Shoving, pushing, trash-talking", Marcin Gortat said.

The Celtics do not want to give the Wizards the confidence they need to win on the road, because coming out of this 2-2 means that the Celtics have no more margin for error. They're minus-26 rebounding after being manhandled 45-31 Sunday. "They've been a great home team all year". The Wizards have won 40+ games in four straight seasons. We were active, we were solid in our positioning.

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