But as the Wizards tore the game open in the second half, Thomas attempted just three shots- missing two of them - in 12 minutes of floor time.?
During the second and third quarters, Wall scored 27 points and had six assists, and he controlled the tempo, the Wizards' offense and the Celtics' chances of winning. There were glimpses of the mismatch in Boston, too, just not long enough or convincingly enough for a win. We know we can. If whatever he has up his sleeves doesn't work at slowing down the Wizards, and they go off on another lengthy run, we may just see him actually put a loafer to the basketball. "When you're on the road, you can't have those turnvoers".
The 5-foot-9 All-Star guard had 53 points in the Celtics' Game 2 overtime victory and was bottled up with 13 and 19 in Washington.
Yet two of the final three games in this series are at TD Garden, where the Wizards haven't won since April 16, 2014.
After the Celtics jumped out to a 2-0 series lead, there were talks of Boston rolling to a long-awaited Eastern Conference Finals clash with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In Game 3, the Wizards got the lead and didn't look back despite Kelly Oubre's eventful ejection.
"They obviously were locked into him the whole game, but obviously more so after the barrage of 3s", Celtics coach Brad Stevens said, crediting the Wizards for switching and sticking on Thomas off pick-and-rolls.
But they seem to have a belief that they can win in Boston that they haven't had until now. But Boston's wake up call arrived much sooner than it had in the past three games, and by the 5:30 mark of the first quarter, the Celtics led 12-10.
"It was all our defense".
It is the first time in his playoff career that he has scored less than 20 points in consecutive games. "We realized at halftime that we weren't defending the way we were capable of". We were active, we were solid in our positioning. We were able to force a lot of turnovers. They also forced nine turnovers, which led to 21 points. He wasn't rewarded for whistles by jumping into Marcin Gortat when going at the rim.
"Isaiah hit some big shots early in the game and I think all of our guys had a good rhythm going", said Al Horford, referring to Thomas' 5-of-5 effort from 3 during the opening 13 minutes of the game. "Especially in that third quarter, I might have hit the ground like five or six straight times", said Thomas.
Though he's not actively calling for his players to actually give the ball a boot if they're committing a turnover, he may only be half-kidding.
Boston shot just 31-percent in the third quarter and Isaiah Thomas was held to just two points and five costly turnovers. The Wizards upped their defensive intensity, which set in motion a sequence of forced turnovers and fastbreak buckets that led to a 26-0 run. "He's a small guy so at the end of the day if you've got three players around you, how can you make the pass?" How can you make a shot? Their turnovers, and poor shot selection, during the series have led to easy Washington points, and that simply can't happen if they want to win another game, let alone advance in the National Basketball Association playoffs.
But the fouls really weren't the problem in Game 4, Thomas's ballhandling was. In the second half, Beal took on the responsibility of guarding Celtics star Isaiah Thomas, holding him to only four points in the second half. It was still a tied game [and] we just came out in the third quarter with a better mindset that everything was going to stem from the defensive end.