The Washington Wizards led the Boston Celtics by double digits in each of the first two games of their second-round playoff series. Unfortunately for the Wizards, they couldn’t hold either lead.
“I’m a little surprised at this point that they’re down 0-2,” CSN Mid-Atlantic Wizards writer Chase Hughes said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Despite the fact that the Celtics were the top seed, they only won four more games than the Wizards this year. I thought they matched up really well. Brad Stevens at practice said he thinks the Wizards have outplayed them in more quarters than they haven’t. So really, it’s come down to the Wizards coming out to great starts against the Celtics but they can’t hold those leads.”
Washington led 16-0 in Game 1 and 42-29 in Game 2. The Wizards even led by six with less than three minutes to go on Tuesday and couldn’t hold the lead, losing in overtime 129-119.
“It’s been a small margin of error that’s lost in these two games,” Hughes said, “but now the’ve got a pretty tough deficit to come back from.”
Washington will need better play from Bradley Beal in Game 3 on Thursday. Beal shot 4-of-15 – including 1-of-9 from three – in Game 2, finishing with 14 points.
Jae Crowder believes the Celtics have Beal right where they want him.
“As soon as they call out plays for Bradley Beal, they know what to do – as if they know the plays, as if they know exactly how the plays are going to start,” Hughes said. “So that was really interesting. I think what (Crowder) really meant was that they’re really focusing a lot on Bradley Beal. They know that he’s really good at cutting and getting off screens and they know where his spots are, where he wants to shoot from. So they’ve got a pretty good game plan in terms of throwing him off of that, and they’ve really kind of thrown him off his game by bumping him with their physical guards. Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart are two guys that are very strong at their position and can really kind of give offensive players fits.”
That’s exactly what they’re doing to Beal.
“Scott Brooks said that Bradley Beal maybe was worrying a little bit too much on plays where he thought he was fouled,” Hughes said. “You need to play through it. If the refs don’t call a foul, it’s not a foul. Markieff Morris after (Game 2) said there were a few guys on the team worrying about their own personal stuff. You have to wonder, if you read between the lines, if he wasn’t talking about Bradley Beal. There were some moments where it seemed like he was complaining to the refs, (but) I think it was just a frustrating night in general (for Beal). There were a few plays where he thought he was going to get fouled and didn’t, and it seemed to kind of throw him off his game.”