Posted on March 15, 2018, by Travis Pulver
There is no such thing as a good loss or one that can be called ‘acceptable.’ All losses are bad, but the one the Boston Celtics suffered at the hands of the Washington Wizards Wednesday night—well, it wasn’t that bad. You could almost say they should take a little pride in how the team played despite taking a loss.
Kyrie Irving was out due to knee soreness. Al Horford was out due to an illness. Jaylen Brown is still dealing with his concussion, and Marcus Smart has a right thumb sprain. So, yeah—Brad Stevens had to get a little creative to field a starting lineup.
But to be fair, they didn’t play half-bad. After the first, they led the Wizards by 14 points, 37-23. They stretched the lead out to 20-points early in the second. But the Wizards were not going to go down without a fight. A 10-0 run to close the quarter cut the deficit down to seven points at the half, 59-52.
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After being dominated for most of the first half, the Wizards gave the Celtics all the fight they could handle in the third quarter. They chipped away at the Celtics lead until late in the quarter when a short jumper by Tomas Satoransky gave Washington a 77-76 advantage. When the fourth quarter ended, the Wizards were still up by one, 81-80.
The game remained close throughout the fourth. But with seconds to play it looked like Boston was going to pull it out. Shane Larkin hit a pair of free throws to give the Celtics a 106-103 lead with 12.5 seconds to play.
Bradley Beal was able to get off a 27-footer, but the shot rimmed out. However, due to a defensive miscue by Marcus Morris, Washington got another shot to tie it up. This time, Jodie Meeks knocked it down.
Morris talked about the play after the game (ESPN): “Me being a veteran, I put that on me. Just for committing to the ball, knowing that they needed a 3 … that was my bad.”
The game remained close throughout the overtime period. But with 3.1 seconds to play, Jayson Tatum had a chance to win the game with a free throw after getting fouled making a layup. However, he missed sending the game to a second OT.
This time, Washington was able to get out to a six-point lead, 125-119, after Bradley Beal hit a free throw with 1:25 to play. Greg Monroe cut the deficit to four with 1:11 to play. Terry Rozier cut it to one, 125-124, after hitting a 26-footer with 47.1 seconds to play.
But no one would make another shot making 125-124 the final score.
Beal led the Wizards with 34-points, seven rebounds, and nine assists followed by Markieff Morris with 20 points. Otto Porter Jr. chipped in a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Marcus Morris led the way for the Celtics with 31 points, and nine rebounds followed Rozier with 21 points and nine assists.
The Celtics will have an easier opponent on hand when they travel to Orlando to face the Magic Friday night. Washington will face the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis Saturday night.
To be down so many of their key players and still be in the game against a competitive Wizards team is impressive. Of course, impressive losses are worth the same as those teams are blown out in. But at this point in the season, it is more important to get everyone healthy for the playoffs.
Jaylen Brown will likely still be out on Saturday. But Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, and Marcus Smart are officially listed as day-to-day.
As for the Wizards, it hasn’t been easy without John Wall. But they have managed to remain in the thick of the playoff hunt without him. When he is going to return remains to be seen. But it sounds like it could be soon.