All black everything for Celtics before Game 6 at Wizards

Washington Wizards guard John Wall shoots between Boston Celtics forward Amir Johnson centre right and forward Jae Crowder foreground right

"Two best words in playoffs is 'Game 7, '" Wizards coach Scott Brooks said.

A Boston victory Friday would end the series and send the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals. But instead, a winner-take-all Game 7 will decide matters in the Eastern Conference semifinal series. It was that kind of half for Wall who missed eight of his nine shots but did manage to dish out six assists. He and Isaiah Thomas reprised their Game 2 battle with each taking turns making big shots down the stretch. Boston F Jae Crowder had 10 points. But the difference might have been Beal, who scored 13 of his game-high 33 in the final period. Wearing a black shirt, he scoffed at the idea Wall and the Wizards derived some boost from knowing about the Celtics' choice of attire. Wall said that if he was going to go out, he was going to go out firing. "That being said, we've still got to play well". "We worked too hard for this". I think we eliminate those runs and cut down on our turnovers, that puts us in a better position to win those games. The last two years we were in the playoffs we lost Game 6 here and we just had a lot of heart. "We're going to shake his hand and move on".

The Celtics got off to a bad start, going 4 for 17 in the first quarter and not making a field goal over the final 5½ minutes or so.

Coming out of a time-out, Avery Bradley drained a go-ahead jumper, only for Bradley Beal to score on a driving lay-up to keep the score tied, at 89.

The first round of the 2015 playoffs was a long, long time ago.

Foul trouble caught up with the Celtics as well in the first half as Kelly Olynyk picked up his third with 4:47 left in the half. That was not the case early in Game 6.

Isaiah Thomas missed a tough shot on the buzzer for the Celtics, who will host the series decider on Monday. Whether he is driving to the basket or grabbing an offensive rebound, Brown appears to have good, functional basketball strength to maneuver in mid-air and put the ball in the basket. Then Marcus Smart found Avery Bradley with a flawless pass leading to an alley-oop dunk with seven seconds left, giving the Celtics the 42-41 halftime lead, their first lead since 2-0 to open the game.

Thomas had 27 points for his first 20-plus point performance since he scored 53 in Game 2, but he shot just 8-for-24 from the field. The Wizards as a whole started 1 for 15 from beyond the arc. Through three quarters he'd only attempted seven shots for 10 points but his teammates made their shots on the extra pass off the Wizards' scheme.

In a contentious series in which the backcourts largely have dictated outcomes, the duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal made the difference when it mattered most.

Thomas momentarily took the game over when it was tied 82-82 with five straight points, which gave Boston an 87-82 advantage with 1:34 remaining.

Beal took over at the beginning of the fourth quarter by aggressively getting to the rim for three straight layups. The Celtics called a timeout with 14.1 seconds left to set up the final possession of regulation. But the battles within the larger battle haven't distracted from the remarkable play by Wall and Thomas.

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