Washington Wizards Unable To Keep Up With Boston Celtics On Road

Washington Wizards’ struggles on the road continued on Wednesday night against the Boston Celtics as they dropped a heated game.

The Washington Wizards went up against one of the best teams in the East in Boston on Wednesday. Although Washington played tough through 42 minutes, the team couldn’t sustain the energy late, succumbing to tired legs and the offensive explosion of Isaiah Thomas.

Washington has struggled most of the season on the road.

Routinely, there struggles have involved falling behind by double digits before having the starters expend an insane amount of energy to get back into the game. Against the third seed Boston Celtics, however, the Wizards held their own for much of the game.

On offense they were led by Bradley Beal with 35 points (13-26) and Otto Porter‘s 20 points (9-12). For the third straight game, Washington was playing a team missing key pieces, although certainly not as depleted as the Bulls team.

Boston was missing starting shooting guard Avery Bradley and starting power forward Amir Johnson, in addition to rookie Jaylen Brown.

After a great game the night before, John Wall really struggled with his shot on Wednesday night.

He finished with 9 points on 4-21 shooting.

Markieff Morris also couldn’t find a rhythm, shooting 6-21 on the night.

These shooting performances certainly hurt the team as they tried to improve on a 10-point lead in the third quarter and catch up late, but were not the only deciding factors.

Speaking of the poor shooting, it is reasonable to wonder if this was largely due to the lack of depth on the team.

The Celtics’ largest run of the game (13 to 0) came with about three minutes left, mostly from open threes and second chance points.

In the second day of a back to back, depth is very important.  

It’s been well documented how bad the Washington Wizards’ bench has been this season and on Wednesday you could see how it’s hurt the team.  

Washington scored 35 points in the first quarter when the legs were fresh, yet only scored 73 points in the last three quarters. Fatigue didn’t only kill the team on offense, as they allowed the Celtics to score 34 points in the fourth quarter.

The Wizards only got 20 points from the bench, which is somehow three points below the team’s average.

Washington is currently 29th in bench points, 5.5 behind the next lowest team. Lance Stephenson or Jarret Jack, anyone?

Although Washington scored 35 points in the first quarter, those tired legs were evident in the first quarter via some of the defensive numbers. Washington did a decent job closing out, but didn’t make any adjustments after Boston came out on fire.

As it’s become usual, the Wizards gave up a lot of three pointers in the first half.  

One day after allowing the Bulls, who rank last in the league in 3-point percentage, to shoot 8-10 from deep in the first half, Washington allowed Boston to make 8 threes on 11 attempts in the first quarter.  

Even with that barrage, the Wizards still were only down one after quarter one.

 

Washington did show great resilience, however, as the team wasn’t down by double digits until the final minutes.

This is a team that already has nine victories this season after trailing by double digits.

The Wizards shot 7 percent worse that Boston and made 7 less threes than Boston, and only lost by 9  in a game Wall and Morris combined to shoot 10-41 (24%).

Only committing 7 turnovers and gaining 16 offensive rebounds helped to keep the game close.

One player who didn’t have tired legs was Bradley Beal.

He had one of his best offensive games of the season, scoring 35 points with six three pointers, and showcased an array of moves to get to the basket. Beal took a team high 26 shots in 37 minutes.

Beal, as has become the norm with our guards, had a mix up with Celtics guard Marcus Smart. The confrontation, albeit mostly Smart’s doing, ended with Beal getting a questionable technical, and led the refs to officiate the game a little tighter down the stretch.

The bad blood didn’t end with Smart and Beal, as the teams jawed on the court after the game, leading the Boston police in the arena to place 5 officers by the teams’ locker rooms.

On the court, Wall and Jae Crowder got into a shouting match, before Crowder poked John Wall in the nose, causing Wall to retaliate and some more slapping among a large crowd.

In case anyone is wondering about possible suspensions for either of the two players, Paul Pierce was suspended for his first regular season game as a Wizard after poking then Bull Joakim Noah in the face in a preseason game.

Another thing to watch is a possible injury to Wall’s left wrist – the same wrist he broke in the playoffs two seasons ago in Atlanta.

If there is positive news, Washington doesn’t play again until Saturday against Philadelphia at home.

The two days of rest should go a long way for the starters who are playing heavy minutes and success playing at home has been one of the few constants in the last month of Wizards basketball.

It’s certainly too early to be talking about playoffs, but the thought of a Celtics-Wizards playoff series does have me salivating.  The intensity both teams played with, along with the scuffle at the end, creates must watch intrigue come playoff time.

The Washington Wizards fall back to .500 at 19-19, and start a three game homestand with Joel Embiid and the Sixers at home on Saturday.

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