Wizards won’t go down like that; Wall game-winner forces game 7 Monday
WASHINGTON DC – Before the latest big shot by John Wall to give the Wizards a 92-91 victory over the Celtics Friday night there was a play that just wasn’t working.
The Wizards had the ball with just a few seconds left in the game (and their season) an Otto Porter couldn’t find an open teammate to pass the ball to. The Wizards were in danger of surrendering the ball on a 5-second violation and ending up with no shot to tie or win the game.
That’s when Wall decided good defense wouldn’t stand in his way of getting a shot to extend the NBA playoffs series and force a game 7 in Boston Monday.
“The last play was really for me to get to the corner and Brad [Beal] come open,” said Wall. “He didn’t get the opportunity to get open and I didn’t want to get a five-second violation. So I came and got the ball and looked the defender in the eye and took a shot I work on and it went in.”
Wall took that three with Washington down two even though Wall was having an off night shooting the ball.
“John, I think he’s only had two games in this series – I think one game he was 0-9 and the other he was 1-9 and he ended up 8-16 in the halves. Not too many guys can do that,” said Scott Brooks, the Wizards head coach. “When I played, if I missed two shots, I didn’t think I was going to make the next shot. But he’s a winner [and] he plays to win. He’s not worried about his stats; he’s worried about winning the game.”
In this series, home court has played a huge factor with the home team earning decisive wins in each game. On Friday night, Brooks said the home crowd was instrumental in helping the Wizards eek out the win.
“I’m happy for our guys [and] I’m happy for our fans,” said Brooks. “It was an incredible atmosphere. We were playing [with] everything on the line.”
Wall used the moments after the game to feed off that energy by jumping onto the scorer’s table.
“It was for how much love I have for this city, how much love I have for my teammates, how much fight we have. Never quitting. A lot of people doubted us in this series, after going down 2-0. A lot of guys doubted us winning this game at home,” said Wall. “The last two years we were in the playoffs we lost Game Six here and we just had a lot of heart. I just wanted the city to know that we love them for all the support they give us and they’re amazing fans.”
Most of those fans will be in Washington DC when the Wizards take the court Monday for game 7 in Boston. Bradley Beal, who nailed a big three in the closing moments of game 6 to help set up the final score, said the team knows how difficult the game will be but they are up for the challenge.
“Just like [Friday night], we have to have the will to win,” said Beal. “Knowing that we’re on the road we have to play great. We have to be on call for everything. We can’t let plays go by, every possession is going to count.”