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NBA playoffs: Celtics win OT thriller, Warriors handle Jazz

Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics drives past John Wall of the Washington Wizards. (Image: Keith Allison CC BY-SA 2.0)
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3rd May, 2017
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Last night saw one of the greatest playoff performances in recent NBA memory as second round action continued.

Washington were looking to even up their series with the Celtics while the Jazz and Warriors tipped off in game 1.

Let’s dig into the action.

Washington Wizards 119 Boston Celtics 129 (OT)
In arguably the best game of the postseason to date the Boston Celtics rallied to beat the Washington Wizards in overtime and take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

In a back and forth encounter the Celtics overcame an early deficit to win comfortably in OT. With the score tied at 114-114 and the clock winding down John Wall and Bradley Beal had good looks to win the game in regulation. However, both midrange jumpers fell short and Boston prevailed.

Isaiah Thomas was sensational on the night – scoring 53 points including 29 in the fourth quarter and OT – to lead his team to victory. The diminutive point guard won a classic battle with John Wall – 40 points and 13 assists – as both players lit up the scoreboard.

Thomas continues to defy expectations – scoring at will over players who seem twice his size. The sheer array of moves at his disposal is staggering – a heady mixture of scooped layups, floaters and step back jumpers which leave defenders grasping at thin air.

His 53-point eruption was the highest scoring effort in the playoffs since Allen Iverson went off for 55 way back in 2003.

John Wall was also outstanding as Washington came out the gate fast in first quarter and built a 42-29 lead. However, Bradley Beal suffered a poor shooting night – hitting just 1 of 9 three pointers and finishing with 14 points.

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Washington will be seething that they couldn’t capitalise on fast starts in both games 1 and 2. The Wizards were up double digits in both games but both times faded badly down the stretch. If they are to make the series competitive they will have to find a better solution for Isaiah.

The Wizards regularly switched power forward Markieff Morris on to Thomas with little success. Boston’s star point guard put Morris in a blender all night and Washington coach Scott Brooks will have to go back to the drawing board before game 3.

The bad blood that simmered all season between the two teams boiled over again last night. After Thomas had a tooth knocked out in game 1 – Wizards wing Otto Porter Jr left the court with a bloody nose following a collision with Thomas. Morris was again at the centre of the action – seeming to throw Al Horford into the first row and constantly squaring up to Celtics players.

The series switched to Washington for game 3 on Thursday night – where the Wizards will have to defend their home court if they are to harbour realistic hopes of advancing.

Isaiah Thomas layup John Wall

Utah Jazz 94 Golden State Warriors 106
Steph Curry lead a balanced Warriors attack – in which all five starters scored in double figures – as Golden state comfortably defeated the Jazz at The Oracle Arena.

The Warriors used an early 19-6 run to establish the lead and never let the Jazz back into the contest.

Curry had 22 points – on an efficient 7 of 11 from the field – while Draymond Green and Kevin Durant added 17 a piece for the top seeded Warriors.

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The Jazz just couldn’t get anything going offensively. Rudy Gobert lead all Utah scorers with 13 points – while Gordon Hayward was held to just 12 points on a poor 4 of 15 shooting night.

Aussie forward Joe Ingles had a reasonably quiet night with 5 points and 4 assists and youngster Dante Exum added 7 points off the bench. But the Jazz will need to find something extra if they are to give the Warriors a fright.

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry

The only fly in an otherwise delicious ointment for the Warriors was an injury suffered by Curry in the third quarter. Curry seemed to hurt his knee after making a layup and went to the bench to have it examined. Curry did return to the game but was in obvious discomfort.

After last season’s injury problems the whole Warriors organisation will be holding it’s breath and hoping that it is nothing serious.

Game 2 is back at The Oracle Arena on Thursday night when the Warriors will look to seize control of the series