Celtics Take Round Two In OT
The “let’s go Cel-tics” chants snuck into Capitol One Arena uninvited and had its feet in the couch. Their entrance went without interruption. No slander, no commas, no rebuttal. They also stayed longer than expected.
It was a hard-fought game in D.C., but your Washington Wizards fell to the Boston Celtics in overtime, 110-104. Washington shot 16.7% in the extra period but again, turnovers were the biggest scapegoat in this close loss.
“Sometimes you look at one play . . . but it’s the 22 turnovers throughout the game,” Coach Scott Brooks explained after an exhausting battle. “We put ourselves in a tough position.”
As we mentioned before the game, Washington has been averaging 30.7 assists and 13.2 turnovers per in their six games without John Wall. In that same stretch, their 10.2 steals per game and assists on 71% of all field goals are second and first in the NBA, respectively. On Thursday night in Boston D.C., they added 11 steals and assisted on 74% of their field goals.
“They’ve done a good job of replacing [Wall] by committee, which you have to do in this situation,” said Brad Stevens, head coach for the conference-leading Celtics. “At the end of the day, every team misses guys like that.”
Last night, that was an understatement. In the most stressful moments, the court shrinks. This temporary lack of one-on-one options for the Wizards was a prevalent factor in the loss. The carelessness with the ball – especially in the clutch – is only reminiscent of regretful losses.
The bulk of that penitence was provoked in the final seconds of the fourth quarter. With the Wizards up three and 9.8 seconds to go, a Kyrie Irving forearm was hit by Markieff Morris on a corner three attempt.
The Celtic roar was back: “LET’S GO CEL-TICS!”
Cool Kyrie then stepped to the line and accepted the three free points, tying the game.
Irving, who was enveloped by Satoransky defense that has troubled Russell Westbrook, disregarded his six-point first half and finished with 28 on the night.
“I thought he [held his own],” said Brooks, praising Satoransky. “I thought Tomas gave him everything he had and he competed.”
After another deflating three-point shooting foul by Morris on Irving, this time in overtime, Washington began to accept their fate.
Even in defeat, Brooks remained optimistic, and it felt like the aura in the locker room was comprised of his assurance.
“We had 22 turnovers for 24 points. That’s hard to overcome and we just about overcame,” he said. “That says a lot about our toughness, a lot about the group.”
With the loss, Washington is now 6-2 in this stretch without John Wall and is tied with Milwaukee for fourth place in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. They sit behind the third-seeded new-look Cleveland Cavaliers, a team with a revamped roster gain traction on the fly.
Washington will visit the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.