The NBA Playoffs heat up as two Eastern conference teams take a step closer towards closing out their respective series. Both the Washington Wizards and the Boston Celtics defeated their respective opponents to lead their series 3-2.
Atlanta Hawks 99 – Washington Wizards 103
Once again, John Wall and Bradley Beal delivered for the Wizards and led the team to victory over the Hawks. Beal has been a force to be reckoned with on offense in this series and Atlanta has yet to find a way to slow the scorer down. He led the Wizards in scoring with 27 points. Until such time that the Hawks can stifle Washington’s backcourt duo of Beal and Wall, there won’t be much hope for them to pull out an upset. Still, the Hawks have been known to come up big on defense. They just need to find a way to put it all together in this matchup.
Case in point, Paul Millsap managed to drop a 21-11 double-double but failed to record any defensive stats, something that the forward has been normally recognized for. Dennis Schroder ignited Atlanta with his game-high 29 points and 11 assists. Dwight Howard was plagued by personal fouls and was limited to five points and 10 boards.
Howard will be an X-factor in this series. He is capable of dominating in the paint, making into a “no man’s land” with his defensive presence. He will need to watch out for those ticky-tac fouls and stay on point when it comes to manning the middle.
Chicago Bulls 97 – Boston Celtics 108
After initially trailing in this series 0-2 the Celtics have turned things around and are now in command, 3-2. The Bulls are sorely missing the services of Rajon Rondo, who has an injured wrist. Dwyane Wade turned back the clock in this game and led the Bulls with 26 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists. Unfortunately for Chicago, his big game was no match for the onslaught brought by Boston’s key starters. Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas each scored 24 points, while Al Horford was productive with 21 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists.
Jimmy Butler was quiet in this game with 14 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. The Bulls will need more production from Butler if they hope to upset the Celtics in this series.
Will Rajon Rondo be well enough to make his return in Game 6 and lead Chicago to a series-tying win? We will have to wait and see. Either way, both of these series will be must-watch affairs in the ongoing NBA Playoffs.