In the Verizon Center on Thursday night, for about 90 seconds, nobody had any idea what happened. Did Kelly Oubre try to bodycheck a ref? Why was Kelly Olynyk on the ground? Was this the sequel to the boop? Were half of both teams about to get suspended? Sitting about 20 rows behind the baseline where it happened, I couldn’t tell.
Thankfully, a brawl was avoided. Refs separated Olynyk and Oubre and diffused the situation before tensions escalated. A suspension for Oubre is likely, but no one else appears to be at risk. It was, however, one more chapter in a Wizards-Celtics rivalry that’s only getting chippier as the season goes.
So let’s talk about it. I’m a lifelong Wizards supporter, which means I’m approaching this from a place of moderate-to-extreme bias. But that’ll probably be true for half the people who discuss the Kelly Oubre incident on Friday. Everyone will have takes.
In Game 3, the two biggest factors were Isaiah Thomas and Otto Porter. The former looked mortal for the first time in about two weeks.
The Wizards trapped Thomas more than they had in either of the first two games, and they also threw Otto Porter on him to try to bother him with length. Whether it was the defense or inevitable regression after playing basketball that was essentially perfect Tuesday night, Thomas struggled. And his struggles were a reminder of just how ordinary the Celtics can look without Isaiah supercharging everything. In that way, even the loss was a testament to how great he’s been all year.
By ANDREW SHARP
Sports illustrated, Friday May 5th, 2017