The new fascinating rivalry in the NBA continues tonight with game two of the conference semi-finals between the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards. This rivalry seems to have become as big as the old Lakers, Celtics rivalry in the late 2000s with tensions tightening and carrying over from the regular season.
No doubt that the Celtics got off to a very slow and lackluster start in game one but with the help of big play from Al Horford, Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder the Celtics were propelled back in the game and took the lead late in the third and they never looked back winning 123-111.
In game one we saw things that all of Boston hopes carries over into game two. For starters, Boston knocked down 19 three pointers in a scoring outburst from behind the line that was previously not seen in the first round where they only shot 40% or above twice in that series. Coming into game two the Celtics look to carry the momentum from the last games shooting performance into tonight and carry them to a 2-0 series lead.
Another huge contribution last game was the play of Al Horford. Many have criticized his large contract with the level of productivity this season and since then many have shut up. Al nearly had a triple-double with 21 points, 10 assists and 9 rebounds. When he was on the floor, the Celtics were +21. If the Celtics want to continue their success tonight, they will need another huge game from Al Horford.
In typical fashion last game, Isaiah Thomas scored 33 points and had 9 assists which is what he has consistently done the whole year so nothing new or surprising with that stat line.
Jae Crowder on the other hand had a huge game and besides Horford, he was probably the second biggest unexpected contributor to that game, especially with his recent struggles. He dropped 24 points and was 6-8 from three point land which had not been seen to that point in the playoffs. Hopefully, this will boost his confidence tremendously and he puts up similar numbers tonight.
Arguably the biggest thing coming into game 2 is that Markieff Morris, though planning to play, went out of game 1 with an apparent injury to the knee. So a question would be how productive can he be tonight and if he can’t be, it can prove to help the Celtics significantly which I am okay with. With Morris, Gortat seemed to come up limping late in the game which could hurt is effectiveness on the court if he plays significant minutes which again will help the Celtics.
Overall, tonight will be a great game with a lot to watch for. If the Celtics continue their hot shooting and Horford comes up big again along with Isaiah Thomas being himself and scoring a lot of points, the Celtics will come up with the win tonight.