Avery Bradley's defense has been key ingredient for Celtics


Off the bench, Marcus Smart looked like himself once again crashing the boards (he finished with 11 rebounds) and adding nine points.

The punishment for "directing inappropriate language toward a fan" came only hours before the teams were set to meet for game five in Boston, with game six set back in Washington on Friday and a seventh game, if needed, to be played in Boston on Monday.

Twice in the fourth quarter he rose up from behind the three-point line with ample space between him and the nearest defender.

"I wanted to take the open shots that were there and make plays for guys, and that's what I tried to do tonight".

As a team, Boston, which led by as many 26 points, shot 52.9 percent from the floor and had 33 assists on 46 made baskets, while outrebounding the Wizards 48-45 after being dominated on the glass in the previous two games. Heading into Game 5, which took place yesterday, the Wizards were in a solid position. The points came in all varieties.

John Wall led the Wizards with 21 points, Bradley Beal had 16 and Otto Porter added 13.

There is one thing Thomas and the Celtics haven't done this season - win in Washington.

It marked the fourth time in the series that one team has had a run of at least 16-0, including three times in the first quarter.

Avery Bradley scored a postseason career-high 29 points to lead all players in scoring, while Thomas was held to a home playoff low (18).

Washington will need a good bounce back effort to force a Game 7.

Washington Wizards coach Scott Brooks gestures to his players during the second quarter against the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, in Boston, Wednesday, May 10, 2017.

"It can't just be Isaiah Thomas every night", Bradley revealed.

LeBron James and his six NBA All-Defensive Team selections still gets left off of some "two-way player" rankings - although he is ironically often described as the best all-around player in the world.

But it's been Bradley's consistency on defense during the first two rounds that has the top-seeded Celtics on the verge of an Eastern Conference finals matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The home team has won every game, and the Celtics are the team with four home games this series. Horford also chipped in 9 assists and 3 blocks as he controlled things on both ends. For now, the Celts can be satisfied with the fact that for the first time in this series, they can truly say they outplayed the Wizards for almost all 48 minutes. That's what happens when you're suspended for steamrolling Celtics counterpart Kelly Olynyk during a chippy Game 3. They'll look to change the result of those past instances and extend their season this time around.

We knew three-pointers would be a key going into this series as the Celtics were third in the National Basketball Association in both makes and attempts from beyond the arc during the regular season.

Bradley scored 14 of his 29 points in the game's opening quarter. "I think Kelly (Oubre) did a great job of handling it", Wall said. Al Horford had 19 points and seven assists, while Jae Crowder matched Thomas with 18 points. The Wiz will likely stick with their plan and force IT to give the ball up, because he's too risky when he's able to get the shots he wants.