The Wizards out-played the Celtics in a sloppy game to prevent them from the best start in franchise history. Both teams were playing in the second of back to back games, but in spite of playing in an overtime game the night before, Washington out-hustled the Celtics on both ends of the court. The Wizards out-rebounded the Celtics 49-30 and seemed to beat them to every loose ball. Much of rebounding is desire and effort and the Celtics have been out-rebounded in the last three games 42-40 (Charlotte), 52-44 (NJ) and 49-30 (Washington). This is cause for concern. Either the Celtics are already wearing down or they just don't want these games as much as the other teams.
The Celtics offense seems to be sputtering. They shot 41% from the field and missed 6 free throws. Two of the Celtics stars struggled from the field with Pierce shooting only 5-13 and Ray Allen even worse hitting only 3-13. The Celtics played defense in spurts, pressing in the back court and trapping but for most of the game, they allowed the Wizards too many easy baskets. The excuse can be made the the Celtics played the night before, but the Wizards also played the night before and their game went to overtime.
The Celtics were out scored 25-13 in the fourth quarter and they out rebounded the Celtics throughout the game. The rebounding differential was 15-12 in the first quarter, 26-16 at the end of the second, 36-22 at the end of 3 and 49-30 at the end of the game. The Celtics shot 46% and held the Wizards to 36% but the rebounding differential and the fact that the Wizards took 13 more shots than the Celtics was too much to overcome. The Celtics also turned the ball over 19 times.
KG came as close as anyone to playing well as he finished with 19 points on 7-14 shooting to go with 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks. Perk played well this game scoring 9 points to go with 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks. Big Baby played 9:53 and didn't have much of an impact in this game with only 1 rebound and 1 steal.
Tony started in place of Rondo who sat out with a sore back from a fall in the Nets game. He definitely isn't a ball handler and it is a scary sight to watch him dribbling the ball. The Celtics should give Pruitt a chance to show what he can do with Rondo on the sideline. He can't do much worse. Tony finished with 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals. House played the points for much of the game as Tony was in foul trouble and had trouble handling the defensive pressure of the Wizards. He finished with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals.
Pierce shot only 5-13 and finished with 15 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks. Ray Allen struggled from the field shooting only 3-13 from the field and finishing with 8 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, and 1 steal. Posey hit a couple of big 3s and finished with 8 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Scal played 7+ minutes and had only 1 assist to show for it. Pollard, Rondo, Powe, and Pruitt all did not play.
The Celtics have lost 2 of their last 3 games and have been beaten on the boards in those 3 games. They haven't been playing the defense that made them so dominant in the first part of the season. Teams are playing them better defensively and they are not handling the defense very well. It may be because they are tiring already or because they are losing focus or just because other teams are figuring them out and learning how to play them. Whatever is causing the Celtics to falter, hopefully they can figure it out and solve it soon as they face these same Wizards on Monday night and don't want to lose twice to them.
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