Published: Tue, May 16, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Celtics' Thomas fined $25000 for comment to fan

"If he could take it back, he would", Celtics coach Brad Stevens said before Wednesday night's game.

So far, that home court advantage has been just that with the victor in each of the first five games being the home team. The C's were outmatched on the glass against the Bulls, but in Game 5 against the Wizards outrebounded them 48-45.

By driving into the paint early and often, the Celtics defense will have no other choice but to collapse inside to help Thomas or Bradley defend Wall, freeing up the likes of Bradley Beal, Porter and the returning Kelly Oubre on the perimeter.

"I have to be smart about it still", Bradley said. The betting line reflects how John Wall and Co. have played in Washington compared to Boston, and the difference is stark. Washington is 0-7 at home when facing elimination since 1988, not that such a stat really matters given all but three of the players on their current roster were born after 1988. The Celtics differential is less severe.

It will be critical that the C's get out to another fast start tonight at Verizon Center. Boston can not allow the Wizards to push them around down low and get to those "50-50" balls.

Quality defense, particularly when players are sprinting down the court at full speed, is hard to quantify. Even as the Celtics desired to push the pace on nearly every possession, the Wizards' defense trailed behind these transition plays. "When we aren't making shots, we let it affect us defensively". Avery Bradley echoed these sentiments after the Celtics' solid performance in game five.

"We just wanted to impose our will", said Thomas. Maybe they'll have something clever for him instead of just booing every time he touches the ball, but after Wednesday night's outrage at Boston's potty mouths, it will probably be something cordial and respectful. In losses, their shooting percentage drops to just 41.5 percent, and turnovers jump to over 17. "We want Oubre!" at times during the first quarter.

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It's possible this is all tied to home court. But they're also 1-5 on the road. "[Teams] play great at home, got your fans there". However, I still feel like the Celtics are the better team overall and I have to stick to my guns about turning down free points with the better team. Not only has this become a rivalry, but it also has become the most watchable series of the playoffs.

What adjustments can the Wizards make?

The first two games, the Wizards got off to leads on the road, but the Celtics, fueled by their home crowd and the stellar play of Isiah Thomas, came back in each game to take the victory.

Boston trailed 4-0 early in the opening minutes, but went on a 16-0 run in the first quarter to build a double-digit lead and never looked back en route to the Game 5 win.

However, the Celtics may have to wait until Game 7 to win the series.

Thomas took note. He sang the praises of Stevens's changes in game five and appears confident more are on the way. This year's first half looked to be a lottery team but they caught fire and were one of the hottest teams in the National Basketball Association after the calendar flipped. "You've got to be prepared for anything".

QuotesWashington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks looks on from the sidelines. How effectively each man can get their players to translate their visions on the court will likely define the series.

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