East finals trip on line as Wizards, Celtics head to Game 7

16 May 2017, 06:58 | Kristine Mills

Back in Boston for the the conclusion of a second-round war with the Wizards with Monday's Game 7 at TD Garden, there's undeniable pressure on the top-seeded Celtics to take that next step in their slow build return to contention and punch their tickets to an Eastern Conference Finals meeting with the Cavaliers.

And shortly after sinking what might have been the biggest shot of his entire career, Wall spoke with ESPN and ripped the Celtics players for showing up for the game in black.

In a behind-the-scenes video taped immediately following the Washington Wizards' 92-91 win over the Boston Celtics on Friday night, Coach Scott Brooks can be seen addressing his players.

Thomas dropped 53 points in Boston's 129-119 overtime win in Game 2 on Tuesday, and Wall hit a go-ahead three pointer with 3.5 seconds left in Game 6 to keep the series alive for the Wizards on Friday. Thomas' heave at the buzzer clanked off the rim. He is averaging 27.9 points in the playoffs, and Beal is averaging 23.8 points.

We poured through our video-tracking data and other numbers on the Wizards' playoff performance and found three things to watch for them in Monday's game. The victor moves on to oppose the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East finals beginning Wednesday. Washington, at the time, made no bones about what they were doing - there was some bad blood between the teams, and the Wizards wore all black as a sign that they were taking the regular season game as seriously as a playoff game.

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Boston, which won Game 5 at home by 22 points, led Game 6 by 69-66 entering the fourth quarter, when a relatively blah game became much more compelling.

Wall would tie the game on two free throws, before the Celtics would reclaim the lead, 89-87, on a jumper from Avery Bradley with 39 seconds left. He responded by going 10-13 from the field and 4-5 from three. Washington's bench has been atrocious in the series as predicted while Boston's bench has been playing extremely average, something that it cannot afford to have in Monday's game. Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier both played 11 minutes but did not score and Marcus Smart played a whopping 28 minutes and scored just one point on 0-3 shooting. The only starter on the Wizards that have played in a Game 7 is Marcin Gortat and that was seven years ago. Not to mention the Celtics outplayed the Wiz in game six and should have won if we're being honest. He went 3-for-12 in the other four games. Game 7 will be a crucial game for both sides. Everything for the Celtics starts with Thomas, and he needs to be ready.

This is going to hurt a lot, and they have to forget last night's loss as fast as they can because they have one more chance for the finals. That series was Washingtons last time in a Game 7. Last reached the Eastern Conference finals in 1979.

A Game Seven on the road is daunting for any team, and having one against the Celtics, who are 18-4 in home Game Sevens, can add a psychological element to the affair. If you had said that back in October, that there'd be a Game 7 in the second round, a lot of people probably wouldn't even believe that.

"Don't come into my city wearing all black talking about it is a funeral", he said. It's a great color. "It hurts right now, because we just lost".

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