WASHINGTON – Game 6 between the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards on Friday night was not point guard John Wall’s finest game.
With the game on the line, Wall may have produced his finest playoff moment.
The All-Star hit a three-pointer with 3.5 seconds left over Celtics guard Avery Bradley to give Washington a 92-91 victory, forcing this Eastern Conference semifinal series to a Game 7.
JOHN 👏WALL👏IS👏MONEY👏 pic.twitter.com/rQIW1VJNHA— NBA (@NBA) May 13, 2017
"Great shot by a great player," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "Hats off to him. That was a huge shot."
Wall added: “Looked the defender in the eye and took a shot that I work on."
The Wizards went a stretch late in the second quarter to early in the third where they missed all 14 shots they attempted.
They squandered a double-digit lead, and Wall had made just one of his first 12 shots. They were poor from three-point range (20.8%) and bad from the foul line (61.9%).
It was not how Wizards coach Scott Brooks would’ve drawn up a winning game plan for Game 6 at home.
And yet in the face of a box score that usually reeks of a loss, the Wizards won.
The series finale is Monday in Boston (8 p.m. ET, TNT) and the winner will play the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference finals.
Washington guard Brad Beal ensured a Game 7 with a playoff career-high 33 points, his fourth game in the postseason with at least 30 points. Oddly, just three of Beal’s points came from a three-pointer, but it was a huge shot.
Beal’s three-pointer with 1:09 cut Boston’s lead to 87-85, and after Wall blocked Isaiah Thomas’ shot, he made two free throws with 41.2 seconds left, tying the score at 87.
Wall, who was 1-for-9 in the first half but 8-for-16 in the second half, finished with 26 points and eight assists.
“Not many guys can do that,” Brooks said. “He’s a winner. He plays to win. He’s not worried about his stats. He’s worried about winning.”
Bradley was just about as locked in as he was in Game 5, scoring 27 points on 10-of-18 shooting for Boston. Big man Al Horford added 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting and hit what would have been the game-winner with 7.7 seconds remaining.
Thomas had 27 points for his first 20-plus point performance since he scored 53 in Game 2, but he shot just 8-for-24 from the field.