Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
BOSTON – The No. 1 seed Boston Celtics became the fourth team in NBA history to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first two games at home when they dominated the Chicago Bulls on Friday. Their reward for winning four straight to close out the series is an Eastern Conference semifinal date with the fourth-seeded Washington Wizards, who beat the Atlanta Hawks in six games in round one and enjoyed a heated rivalry with the Celtics during the regular season.Things got heated between the teams at the end of a 117-108 Celtics’ win at home that featured five technical fouls on Jan. 11, with extra security being called into the tunnel to make sure both teams stayed in their respective locker rooms, and Washington star shooting guard Bradley Beal had his team arrive for a Jan. 24 meeting in all black clothes prior to a 123-108 win 13 days later. Wizards point guard John Wall wasn’t ready to start talking up the rivalry after finishing off the Atlanta Hawks in a 115-99 triumph on Friday. “We know we will probably go up against a tough Boston team that we have battled with all year,” Wall told reporters. “It is going to be fun and exciting.” Celtics All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas dealt with personal tragedy during the first round and will head home to Tacoma, Wash., between games on Sunday for his sister’s funeral.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, ABC
ABOUT THE WIZARDS: Wall scored a postseason career-high 42 points in Friday’s closeout game at Atlanta and drew raves for his defensive effort, especially a chase-down block in the fourth quarter that helped cut off a Hawks’ run. “It’s really not fair – a point guard being able to do what he does,” Washington coach Scott Brooks told reporters. “It’s only one player in the league who does that, and we all know who that is. But (Wall) does it every game. That’s a sign of a champion. You chase down plays. You stay in plays.” Wall, who averaged 29.5 points and 10.3 assists in the first round, was held to 17.8 points on 37.3 percent shooting in four meetings with Boston in the regular season.
ABOUT THE CELTICS: Thomas averaged 28.9 points in the regular season but watched his shooting numbers take a dip as he averaged 23 points in the six games against Chicago and went a combined 3-of-26 from 3-point range in the final three games of the series. Boston’s other players picked up their hurting leader over the final four games, with Avery Bradley emerging as the hero of Friday’s 105-83 Game 6 triumph. “I was really proud of our guys for how they treated each other, how they stood together, stuck together, and how nobody pointed fingers,” coach Brad Stevens told reporters. “They were just a great support network for one another, and especially for Isaiah.”
1. Bradley averaged 23.5 points in Games 5 and 6 against the Bulls after posting 12.3 over the first four contests.
2. Beal averaged 30 points in the last three games against Atlanta while totaling eight steals.
3. Boston SF Gerald Green averaged 20.5 minutes while starting the final four games against the Bulls after totaling six minutes off the bench in the first two contests.