The showdown between Boston’s Isaiah Thomas and Washington’s John Wall in the Eastern Conference semifinals has been every bit as good as advertised, with the point guards trading shots in two thrilling contests to open their series.

Thomas and Wall have gone back and forth in an incredible duel in two games in Boston, with the 5-foot-9 Celtic prevailing both nights. Thomas went for 33 in Game 1 and a jaw-dropping 53 in Game 2, while Wall is averaging 30 points and 14.5 assists in the first two games.

“It’s fun. John’s a really good friend of mine, someone I’ve known since he blew up in high school,” Thomas said Wednesday. “It’s fun to battle one of the top guards in the NBA and it’s fun to compete. Hopefully we win this series and it will be even more fun for me.”

The Celtics and Wizards will play Game 3 of their tense series on Thursday in Washington.

“Only thing we haven’t tried, we haven’t tried the triple team,” Wizards Coach Scott Brooks said of his next move to contain Thomas. “We’ve tried to put two on him, we’ve switched, multiple defenders. He’s one of the best players in the game.”

Some other things to consider going into Game 3:

 The Wizards are 3-0 at home so far in the playoffs after going 25-6 in Washington since Dec. 1, including a 17-game winning streak.

“We definitely have a good feel and a good comfort level on our home court, but we have to be able to play well here,” Brooks said. “They’re not going to give us the game just because we’re on our home court.” Washington went 2-0 against Boston at Verizon Center this season, too.

 The start after the Wizards went up 16-0 in Game 1 and 16-8 in Game 2, leading Celtics Coach Brad Stevens to tell his team in the huddle, “Hey we’re eight points better than last time.” While the Wizards are concerned about those leads slipping away, Stevens wants to avoid Boston getting “blitzed again.” “You’ve got to be ready for that initial hit,” he said.

 Celtics guard Avery Bradley said he was sore but expects to play after suffering a hip pointer on a fall in Game 2. Wizards forward Markieff Morris was sore after playing on a sprained left ankle, but Brooks expects him to play Thursday night. Guard Otto Porter took a shot to the head, Brooks said, but finished the game and is OK. Center Ian Mahinmi probably won’t play with a left calf strain.


CAVALIERS 125, RAPTORS 102: LeBron James scored 39 points, passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the career playoff scoring list and pushed Cleveland to a blowout victory over visiting Toronto in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Just like a year ago in the conference finals, the Cavs are up 2-0 on the Raptors, who had better figure some things out or this series will be over quickly. Toronto was blown out for the fifth straight time in Cleveland in the playoffs, losing each by an average of 24.2 points.

Game 3 is Friday night at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, where the Raptors will have the crowd on their side.

But they won’t have James, who has won a road game in 27 consecutive series and appears determined to toss Toronto aside. He finished 10 of 14 from the field.


LAKERS: Forward Luol Deng underwent surgery to repair his right pectoral muscle and is expected to be recovered before the start of training camp.

BULLS: There were no bold proclamations for sweeping changes from Chicago management for a team that barely made the playoffs.

They gave no clarity on Jimmy Butler’s future with the team and had no real answers when it came to Dwyane Wade’s. Rajon Rondo looks like he will be welcomed back. The front office won’t be getting a major makeover and Coach Fred Hoiberg will return for a third season.

“We’ve got a lot of guys under contract,” said John Paxson, the executive vice president of basketball operations who was joined by General Manager Gar Forman.

“The landscape is such that to make significant change right now will be difficult.”