Gortat, who has been so often stuck helplessly flinging a hand up while Thomas launches a 3, knows the team needs to do better than that. But looking at the numbers, he said he is not sure the Celtics can keep making their 3s at the rate they have in the first two games, even when they’re open.
“They made a lot of shots, they made a lot of shots and that took us down a little bit,” Gortat said. “At the end of the day, it’s all about the effort, it’s all about the heart, going out there to play for 48 minutes. I truly believe they’re not going to shoot like that for the next four, five games. I can’t believe they will shoot like that. That is kind of crazy.”
He may be right. The Celtics shot 37.3 percent on open or wide-open 3s during the season, but 44.4 percent in two games against the Wizards. In the first game, the Celtics were 10 of 18 on wide-open 3s, but that dropped to 6 of 14 in Game 2. On open 3s, the Celtics were 7 of 15 in Game 1 and 5 of 16 in Game 2. That reflects the Celtics reverting to the mean, but it also reflects the fact that forward Markieff Morris, the Wizards’ best close-out defender, played only 11:20 of Game 1 before going out with an ankle injury.
Trevor Ariza led the Rockets with 23 points as he knocked down five of the team’s 22 3-pointers (postseason franchise-record) and was one of six Houston players in double figures. Clint Capela (20 points, 13 rebounds) and James Harden (20 points, 14 assists) added double-doubles for Houston.
“We lost and they won and they played better,” a frustrated and succinct Popovich told reporters after the game. “We disobeyed a lot of basic basketball rules.”