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Dublin: 8 °C Monday 9 December, 2019

Green outplays Jazz while Celtics get roughed up in Washington

The Washington Wizards got physical as the clawed back their way back into their series.

THE NBA EASTERN conference play-off series between Washington Wizards and the Boston Celtics is growing more intense with every game.

Last night, the Wizards cut their deficit to 2 -1 with a fiery 116 – 89 win, but only after seeing Kelly Oubre Jr ejected from the game in the first half.

Source: NBA Conference/YouTube

“They hit first, they set the tone,” said Celtics star Isaiah Thomas.

Washington were up 45-24 early in the second quarter when Boston’s Kelly Olynyk was whistled for a screening foul on Oubre. Oubre bounced off the floor and charged, shoving Olynyk to the ground.

Wizards center Ian Mahinmi and Boston’s Jonas Jerebko were also handed technical fouls for a first-half skirmish.

Brandon Jennings and Terry Rozier were both ejected in the fourth quarter after each received a second technical, and both Celtics coach Brad Stevens and Wizards coach Scott Brooks were whistled for technicals.

“We don’t like them and they don’t like us,” Thomas said. “That’s just what it is. Two teams competing.”

Source: NBA/YouTube

John Wall scored 24 points for the Wizards, who seized control of the contest with a 22-0 scoring run in the first quarter. They can now attempt to level the series on home court in Sunday’s Game 4.

After failing to hang onto double-digit leads in the first two games in Boston, the Wizards avoided a letdown on their home court.

“Being home, we had the crowd on our side and we were just locked in,” said Otto Porter, who scored 19 points for Washington, as did Bojan Bogdanovic.

Thomas, who scored 53 points in Boston’s 129-119 overtime win on Tuesday, was held to just 13 points this time around. The Celtics, led by Al Horford’s 19 points, shot 35.1% from the field and were never closer than 19 points in the second half.

The real damage came earlier. With the game tied at 12-12, the Wizards held the Celtics scoreless for more than five minutes, taking a 39-17 lead after the first quarter.

Out west, Draymond Green sparked an early surge as the Golden State Warriors defeated the Utah Jazz 115-104 to take a 2-0 lead in their series.

Source: NBA/YouTube

Green drained five three-pointers en route to 21 points as the Warriors remained unbeaten in six games this post-season.

Kevin Durant added 25 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, while Stephen Curry had 23 points and seven assists for Golden State, who raced to an early lead and stifled Utah’s attempts to come back.

Gordon Hayward shook off a slow start to score 33 points for Utah, who were without injured point guard George Hill. Rudy Gobert added 16 points and 16 rebounds for the Jazz before fouling out in the waning seconds. By then, the Warriors had rebuilt their lead to 12 points after seeing it dwindle to seven with 1:45 to play.

Jazz Warriors Basketball Source: Marcio Jose Sanchez

Throughout the contest the Warriors had an answer for every threat from the Jazz — despite some sloppy defense and 17 turnovers that led to 22 Utah points.

“It wasn’t easy,” said Warriors coach Mike Brown — standing in for ailing head coach Steve Kerr. “We felt it. We know we can play better. We broke down in a lot of areas where we should have been better.

“We did some nice things,” Brown added. “We had 33 assists, we held them to five offensive rebounds. We got the ‘W’.”

The Warriors’ biggest scare came when Green took a hard fall in the fourth quarter, then seemed to slip as he rose and grabbed his left knee.

He eventually returned to the court — a good sign for the Warriors, who will try to stretch their lead in the best-of-seven series in Game 3 tomorrow in Salt Lake City.

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