If you’ve missed the first three games between the Washington Wizards and the Boston Celtics, you don’t want to miss Game 4 tonight. If there’s one word to describe the Eastern Conference series so far, it’d have to be physical. Very physical.
John Wall and the Wizards managed to pick up their first victory over Boston on Thursday, 116-89. That brings the series to 2-1, with Washington hoping to even the score this evening. They were finally able to match the physicality of the Celtics at home, and it came with plenty of scuffles. The Wizards’ Kelly Oubre Jr. was suspended one game, the NBA announced Saturday, “for charging and making forceful and unwarranted contact” with Celtics center Kelly Olynyk. That doesn’t include the seven other technical fouls handed out during Game 3.
With physical games like the Eastern Conference semi-finals, there can be periods where some things are let go, especially contact around the rim. One of the biggest victims of the series has been John Wall, who seems to take hard contact often, but never gets to the foul line as much as he should. Wall had this to say about the no-calls, not just during the playoffs, but all season long:
“I think I get the same treatment as LeBron gets when he drives. I think I’m too big and physical, so guys bounce off me and they think I’m supposed to play through it, so I just keep playing and, like, coach tells me, don’t worry about it. Just try to finish plays without worrying about the fouls. So that’s all I can do.”
Wall recalled a key play during overtime of Game 2, where the Celtics’ Avery Bradley came up with a steal.
“He’s pretty good, I played against Avery for a long time but it doesn’t bother me. I mean, he’s a great defender, but it don’t bother me as much. Like, if everybody look at the last play, if you look, he was holding my whole arm. The whole time … but the ref told me he couldn’t see it. I moved the ball in my right hand, my whole left arm caught to my body. Like I was in a straitjacket.”
Wall had 24 points in Game 3, as he extended his playoff streak of 20+ points and 7 assists to nine straight games. The Wizards have managed to open every game so far with large scoring runs, with Thursday being the first time they actually held the margin. If they can continue to match the physicality of Boston, expect them to tie the series.
You can catch Wall and the Wizards in Game 4 tonight at 6:30 pm ET, live on TNT.