John Wall’s late three-pointer was the winner for Washington on Friday. The Wizards forced their first Game 7 since 1979 with the 92-91 win.

WASHINGTON — Five takeaways from the Washington Wizards’ 92-91 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series on Friday night at the Verizon Center.

Beal and Wall show

Guards Brad Beal and John Wall, who struggled with various aspects of their shooting in Game 6, combined for 59 of the Wizards’ 92 points, including 23 of Washington’s 26 points in the fourth quarter and 10 of Washington’s final 10 points.

Beal’s three-pointer with 1:09 left brought the Wizards within two and his driving bank shot tied the score at 89, while Wall’s three-pointer over Celtics guard Avery Bradley won the game.

“We had our best on-ball defender on their All-Star,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “We’re going to guard it as hard as we can and shake his hand and move on.”

Wall (26 points) was just 1-for-9 in the first half, and Beal (playoff career-high 33 points) missed his first seven three-pointers before finally making his only one of the game when the Wizards needed it most. They remained aggressive, and it led to a Wizards victory.

Boston guards Isaiah Thomas and Bradley each scored 27 points, but Beal and Wall made a few more plays with the game on the line.

Trying to limit Thomas

It’s obvious the Wizards’ plan is to slow Thomas and make someone else besides the All-Star beat them. They want the ball out of his hands as much as possible.

Since scoring 53 points in Game 2, Thomas has scored 13, 19, 18 and 27 points, and the Wizards have won three of those four games. Thomas scored 27 in Boston’s Game 6 loss, but he shot just 8-for-24 from the field (a solid 5-for-13 on three-pointers though) and committed five turnovers.

“I can’t do too much with three guys on me,” Thomas said. “I’ve just got to make the right play.”

On the Thomas turnover that led to Beal’s late-game three-pointer, Beal said, “Coach said, ‘Blitz him. He can’t see over our guys.’ ”

Winning without the three-ball

In today’s NBA, the three-point shot is a necessary part of any successful team’s offense. However, the Wizards made just 5-of-24 threes in their Game 6 victory and were 3-for-21 from that range at one point.

In the playoffs, the Wizards are 13th in three-point shooting at 31.4% and are 13th in made threes per game at 8.3. Boston is shooting 40.3% on threes and making 13.8 per game against the Wizards. Yet, the series is 3-3.

Wardrobe malfunction

It may have not been the best idea for the Celtics to wear their all-black funeral apparel to Game 6 in D.C. John Wall found out about it on social media before the game and told ESPN afterwards, “Don’t come to my city, wearing all black, talking about it’s a funeral.”

Game 7 is how it should be

The Wizards and Celtics split their four regular-season games, and the Wizards have outscored the Celtics 660-657 through six games of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

A Game 7 for a spot in the conference finals is apropos, and it will be just the second Game 7 of this season’s playoffs.

“That’s where all great players make their name,” Thomas said. “That’s where legends are born. … Game 7 in Boston, I think a lot of people will take that, and we will as well.”

This is Washington’s first Game 7 since 1979.

“It’s gotta go seven,” Beal said.

“It’s only right,” Wall said. “The NBA world wanted to see it. I think both teams wanted to see it.”

The Wizards face difficult odds. There have been 127 Game 7s in NBA history, and the road team has won just 26 times. However, the Utah Jazz did it in the first round against the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Cleveland Cavaliers did it in last year’s Finals against the Golden State Warriors.

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt

PHOTOS: Best of the second round


Show Thumbnails

Show Captions