With under two seconds left in Friday’s game, Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas heaved a turnaround 3-pointer toward the hoop. If it went in, the Celtics would have gone to the Eastern Conference Finals to play the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Thomas and the rest of the team walked into the Verizon Center wearing all black before the game, taking a jab at the Washington Wizards who did the same thing back in January.
It was supposed to be a funeral – the Celtics were supposed to finish the Wizards.
But as the ball clanked off the rim, the Celtics quickly proceeded to walk back to the locker room, their heads lowered in defeat. And Wizards guard John Wall stood atop the scorer’s table, yelling at the crowd.
The Celtics, who were up 3-2 in the series, lost to the Wizards 92-91 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, failing to close out the series.
A Game 7 awaits the Celtics on Monday at TD Garden, and now a funeral of their own is imminent.
“We realize there are some things certainly that you could do better throughout the course of the game, but I thought we really competed,” coach Brad Stevens said.
The Celtics were up 91-89 with under 10 seconds left in the game, but then Wall hit a deep 3-pointer.
Wall wasn’t ready to be buried yet, but the Celtics had him and the Wizards in a bad spot at the end of the game, for the Celtics had chances to win.
“Avery (Bradley) hit a big shot, Al (Horford) hit a big shot,” Stevens said. “I thought we were going to be able to get one for Kelly (Olynyk) there at the end. But ultimately, the shot that Wall hit was the biggest.”
With 39 seconds left in the game, Bradley made a jumper to put the Celtics up 89-87. The Wizards then came back down, tying the game at 89.
After the Wizards tied the game, Thomas passed the ball to Horford, and Horford banked in a 16-foot jumper. From there, the Celtics couldn’t prevail.
This game likely has a different outcome if the Celtics even played just a bit better offensively. Thomas had perhaps his worst game of the series, and Bradley and Horford had to carry the team.
Thomas didn’t emerge until the end of the game, but by then it was too late. He finished with 27 points, but only made eight shots from the field.
Bradley finished the game with 27 points, his stellar play being a factor in why the Celtics competed. Thomas almost had a James Harden-like disappearance, even with his solid late-game play.
In the past four games, Thomas has averaged 19.2 points per game. Bradley has led the Celtics in the latest games of this series, but the Celtics need both players to play well.
Thomas’ struggles are not unique to him, though. The rest of the team wallowed in a pit of poor offense in Game 6, only posting five bench points.
The all-black attire was initially a nice touch before the game. It was a punch toward the Wizards, who the Celtics despise.
Stevens didn’t seem pleased about the outfits before the game, though, claiming he didn’t even know about the team-wide arrangement.
Not-so-subtle outfits aside, though, Game 7 awaits.
“We’re going to have to play really well Monday to have a chance to win,” Stevens said.
Correction: A previous version of this article said “With 39 seconds left in the game, Bradley made a jumper to put the Celtics up 89-97.” That has been changed so the score is the correct 89-87. Also, the previous version said Wall’s shot sealed the win. That has been removed, as it’s incorrect.