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Wall’s Game-Winning 3 Leads Wizards Over Celtics, Force Game 7

The Washington Wizards aren’t dead yet.

Thanks to a John Wall 3-pointer with 3.7 seconds left, the Wizards prevailed Friday over the Boston Celtics, 92-91, at Verizon Center in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The win sets up a decisive Game 7 in Boston for a series filled with animus but rather short on gameplay drama — until Friday night.

Wall’s game-winner capped a comeback down the stretch for Washington, which trailed by five with 90 seconds left.

Down two with seven seconds remaining, Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. inbounded the ball to Wall, who took two dribbles and knocked down a 26-footer with three seconds on the clock.

Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas missed a contested 3-pointer at the buzzer, allowing the Wizards to extend their season for at least one more game.

Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas attempts a jump shot over Washington Wizards forward Jason Smith in the first quarter of the Wizards' 92-91 victory in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Verizon Center in D.C. on May 13. (John De Freitas/The Washington Informer)
Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas attempts a jump shot over Washington Wizards forward Jason Smith in the first quarter of the Wizards’ 92-91 victory in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Verizon Center in D.C. on May 13. (John De Freitas/The Washington Informer)

An excited Wall ran around the court and jumped onto the scorer’s table, celebrating with a jubilant home crowd after staving off elimination.

“To get on the scorer’s table [shows] how much love I have for this city, how much love I have for my teammates [and] how much fight we have,” said Wall, who shook off a rough start to score 26 points and dish out eight assists. “I just wanted the city to know that we love them all the support they give us and they’re amazing fans.”

A bit of theater happened before the game even started. Celtics players such as Thomas and Kelly Olynyk wore all-black attire coming into the arena. The Wizards players wore all-black clothing when they faced the Celtics in January that became known as “the funeral game.”

Both head coaches dismissed talk of players’ fashion, but Wizards forward Markieff Morris had a few choice words.

“They’re just trying to be like us. They want to be us so bad,” said Morris, who scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. “They can’t do it like we do it.”

Thomas, who had 27 points and seven assists, said he always wears black.

“I’m the first one in the gym, too, so I didn’t see nobody else wearing black,” he said.

The two squads didn’t earn any style points on the court, either. The series had been a high-scoring affair up to this point, with both teams averaging 113 points per game, but neither shot particularly well from the floor Friday.

The Celtics shot 40.5 percent and only 31 percent from 3-point range, while Washington shot 43 percent and just 21 percent from deep.

Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal, who had a game-high 33 points, made only one 3-pointer, but it was a big one, coming after a Boston turnover to cut the Wizards’ deficit to 89-87 with 1:09 remaining.

After a pair of of Wall free throws tied the game at 87, the two teams traded baskets before Celtics center Al Horford made an improbable 16-foot bank shot with seven seconds left to put Boston up 91-89, setting the stage for Wall’s heroics.

Game 7 is Monday in Boston with the season on the line. One problem: the Wizards haven’t won in Beantown all season, and the team’s last victory there happened in April 2014.

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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