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Takeaways from Wizards' thrilling victory in Game 6 vs. Boston Celtics

Takeaways from Wizards' thrilling victory in Game 6 vs. Boston Celtics

They wore all-black attire in Friday’s attempted closeout of the Wizards at Verizon Center. The Boston Celtics, however, were turned away a bit red-faced as the ploy backfired and John Wall had the last laugh as his three-pointer with 3.5 seconds left won it 92-91.

The home team has won every game in this East semifinal that returns to TD Garden for a Game 7 on Monday to determine who meets the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Boston erased a 10-point first-half deficit, led by 87-82 in the final two minutes after a quick explosion by Isaiah Thomas and the Wizards tied it after a pair of stops on a three-pointer from Bradley Beal and free throws from Wall with 41.2 seconds left.

RELATED: WALL CELEBRATES WIN ON SCORER'S TABLE

The Wizards are 6-0 at home in the postseason.

Wall (26 points, eight assists) was listless for most of three quarters, Marcin Gortat (four points, 13 rebounds) was in early foul trouble and Otto Porter (36 minutes) went scoreless. as he missed all five of his attempts.

Like the Wizards in Games 1 and 2 when they had victory in hand in Boston, the Celtics wilted down the stretch.

This could’ve been the third Game 6 semifinal elimination in four years for Wall, Gortat, Porter and Beal (33 points, five assists).

But after Avery Bradley (27 points) made the go-ahead jumper, Beal responded with a drive by Kelly Olynyk to tie the score at 89 and set the stage for the finish.

Wall began shooting 1-for-9 but caught fire with three consecutive field goals, including a three-pointer, to tie the score at 50 in the third quarter. He scored 13 of his points in the third. Beal scored 13 in the fourth.

Then it was Beal who came alive to repeatedly beat the Celtics’ slower defenders off the dribble to get to the rim in the fourth.

Bradley, Thomas (27 points, seven assists) and Al Horford (20 points, six rebounds) weren’t enough for Boston to get over the hump.

A pair of foul shots from Jae Crowder (10 points, seven rebounds, eight assists) tied the score at 82 in the final four minutes. Horford’s difficult bank shot with 7.7 seconds left put the Celtics ahead 91-89.

The dislike between the teams made this a game the Wizards believed going in they couldn’t lose no matter the circumstances.

“It factors into it a little bit. I think it gets the fans more involved than anything,” Beal said before tipoff. “You get a little bit more edge, you can yell at them a little bit more, kind of disrupt them. I don’t know what it is. We don’t like each other. We both want to win. It’s competitive. It’s fun to me. I enjoy it. This is how hoops should be.”

It’ll last one more game.

[RELATED: Celtics players arrive at Game 6 against Wizards wearing all black]

--The Wizards went without a field goal in the last 4:10 of the second quarter. Wall didn’t have a point or an assist in the eight minutes he played. The Wizards went from a 40-30 led to trailing 42-41 at halftime.

--Defense is what got the Wizards back on top after trailing throughout the third quarter. They had multiple blocks to begin the fourth and consecutive baskets from Beal put them ahead 70-69 with 9:45 left. It was defense that got them the stops late, turning over Thomas who had a game-high five giveaways.

--Gortat picked up two fouls and had to leave the game. When he re-entered at 7:32 of the second, it took him just five seconds to pick up his third foul on a closeout of Thomas. He screened for Wall in the lane with 5:51 left in the third quarter and picked up his fourth foul. Coach Scott Brooks, however, stayed with Gortat in the lineup. His screen-setting and four offensive rebounds got the Wizards the looks they needed to close.

--Neither team shot the ball well from three-point range, but that didn’t make either bashful. Through three quarters, the Wizards were 5-for-24 and Celtics shot 11-for-35. Beal has been less than 30% for the playoffs and shot 1-for-8. He didn’t make any of his threes in Game 5.

--One of Ian Mahinmi’s strengths is supposed to be his ability to defend but he remained indecisive in closing out Horford at the three-point line and paid for it. Also he came up to trap Thomas to help Wall on the pick-and-roll, got too high and allowed the 5-9 point guard to split it. Mahinmi then picked up his fourth foul to stop the layup.

--Thomas picked up his fourth foul trying to defend Bojan Bogdanovic (four points) in the paint. Thomas stayed in the game, and though he’s usually a defensive liability he was even more of one as he was more concerned (and rightly so) with being on the floor in crunch time. The Wizards’ strategy to contain him worked again as he shot just 8-for-24 from the field.

--Both benches were limited as the Wizards got just 13 from theirs led by Ian Mahinmi (six points). Boston only got five points, with Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier going scoreless and combining to shoot 0-for-8.

[RELATED: Alex Ovechkin, Nationals players turn out to support Wizards in Game 6]

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Sources: Wizards still in pursuit of trade for Pacers superstar Paul George

Sources: Wizards still in pursuit of trade for Pacers superstar Paul George

Even though Paul George remains the longest of shots, the Wizards haven't given up pursuit, league sources tell CSNmidatlantic.com, though there's a prevailing feeling that nothing will happen before free agency opens July 1.

The Boston Celtics appear to be the favorite in working out a deal with the Indiana Pacers to land the All-Star small forward, who is guaranteed $19.5 million for 2017-18 but will opt out of his contract next summer to become an unrestricted free agent.

The Pacers haven't been able to get the deal that they want just yet, and they've called teams around the league to gauge interest in what they could get for George.

[RELATED: All of these unlikely things must happen to pull off George trade]

The Wizards appear content to stand pat until the Pacers decide what to do. Keeping George, who has made it known that he wants to play for the L.A. Lakers, isn't an option for Indiana. By dealing him now, they'll at least get something for him rather than letting him walk for nothing one year from now.

Wizards point guard John Wall, who is good friends with George, is doing his best to recruit him to play in Washington with Bradley Beal to establish their own Big 3.

There's no guarantee, however, that will sustain. 

[RELATED: Why the Wizards make sense for Paul George]

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All of the unlikely things that must happen for the Wizards to trade for Paul George

All of the unlikely things that must happen for the Wizards to trade for Paul George

The words of John Wall has resurrected the talk of Paul George playing for the Wizards in 2017-18, but nothing has changed to improve the prospects of that happening.

1) George is under contract for $19.5 million with the Indiana Pacers before he enters a player option for 2018-19 that he’ll surely exercise to become an unrestricted free agent. The Wizards have to make Indiana an offer that it’ll accept but with understanding there no promises beyond that one year of George’s services.

2) Let’s say the Wizards put forth enough in a salary match such as Marcin Gortat’s $12.8 million for this season, Tomas Satoransky ($3 million) and first-round picks, which would come with a projected cap hold to make a deal work, would the Pacers want it? This isn’t the same as Blake Griffin opting out of his deal with the Clippers to become a free agent. A team can deal directly with him in the open market (and no, the Wizards can’t afford him). With George, the Pacers are the third party and can pull the plug on anything.

3) Any deal that involves Bradley Beal, who is under contract for four more years, is a no-go. Can’t have a Big 3 without him coming off his best season as a pro. And it would probably include Otto Porter being put into the deal for George. Porter, of course, doesn’t have any incentive to do a sign-and-trade because he gets significantly less in such a deal under the new CBA rules. He’d either have to really want to do the Wizards a solid or really love the prospect of being in Indianapolis.

4) Assume that George were to end up here and wanted to stay despite all of those hurdles. The money alone makes it a salary cap nightmare with Beal’s $25.4 million, Wall’s $19.1 million and Ian Mahinmi’s $15.9 million on the books when George would command a max of his own in the summer of 2018. To keep George around beyond (and he has even made it clear to Wall he wants to be in L.A.) would require financial gymnastics that aren't plausible.

5) Having George linger all season long in Indiana knowing he’s on his way out can be toxic. It’s better for the Pacers and the player that they move and not allow this situation to drag out. Otherwise, every time George has a bad game or the team underperforms they’ll face questions. Teammates and coaches will be bombarded with a season full of inquiries about the topic. It’ll be a lost year instead of one where they hit the reset. There’s no point of delaying the inevitable. Of course, the Pacers have taken this long knowing it was in the offing and haven’t moved on George. Or they're simply waiting for the Boston Celitcs to put together a package. With their assets and plethora of picks, the Celtics can afford to take a gamble on George for a year.

As CSNmidatlantic.com reported a few weeks ago, Wall wants to see where the franchise heading before he signs an extension as early as this summer. While a player the caliber of George would wow him now, what would the Wizards look like in two years without George, Porter and a few first-round picks?

MORE WIZARDS: Wizards reportedly extend qualifying offers to Porter, Bogdanovic