On the road for the tie-breaking Game 5 of a particularly thorny series, the Washington Wizards expect nothing less than a raucous, hostile atmosphere Wednesday at Boston’s TD Garden as they take on the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Wizards point guard John Wall said the most important task is to keep the crowd silent like the team did for parts of Games 1 and 2, when Washington jumped out to double-digit leads before letting both games slip away.
“In the playoffs, that’s key,” Wall said after practice Tuesday. “We understand we have to keep the crowd out of it because … certain guys start making plays they aren’t used to making. It’s going to be real loud. It’s going to be better than the first two games.”
Wizards head coach Scott Brooks joked that forward Kelly Oubre Jr. should “wear ear plugs.” Oubre was suspended for Sunday’s Game 4 at the Verizon Center for a physical altercation with Celtics center Kelly Olynyk in the previous game.
The city of Boston has received plenty of flak for racial epithets the past several years from its sports fans, including an incident earlier this month when Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones was called the N-word and had a bag of peanuts thrown at him.
Wall said he’s never been called an inappropriate name or heard other “disrespectful” words from fans while playing there.
“We’ve been focused on basketball. That’s what we do,” Brooks said Tuesday. “You can’t worry about [foul] calls. You have to worry about playing the game.”
Although the Wizards are one of the fastest teams in the NBA, they’ve also used their height advantage over the Celtics, out-rebounding them by 29 in the series. They’ve also controlled the paint, outscoring the Celtics by 60.
“When you put guards on me, it’s personal to me,” Wizards forward Markieff Morris said. “They are going to feel what it’s like to be a center, or power forward, in this league every play.”
He has enjoyed his first playoff experience, especially playing in D.C.
“This is amazing,” he said. “This is probably may favorite team I’ve ever been on, even with my brother being at Kansas. These guys make it great coming here every day.”
Tipoff for Wednesday’s game is at 8 p.m. and broadcast on TNT. Game 6 at the Verizon Center will start at 8 p.m., but will be televised on ESPN.