In what might be a playoff preview of the second round, the Celtics came up woefully short. The Wizards became the only team to beat the Celtics 3 times this season as they pulled out a 109-95 win. The Celtics seemed to have forgotten how to play together for the most part. They allowed the Wizards too many second chance points, they turned the ball over way too much, they settled for outside shots and didn't take it to the basket, and the defense that got them the best record in the league wasn't to be found except in a couple of spurts.
The Celtics were down by 17 with 6:32 left in the second quarter and fought their way back to go into the half down just 2 at 55-53. It seemed as though they had found their rhythm but they came out flat in the third quarter and fell behind and never were able to get it together. Doc played KG 31 minutes, Pierce 37 minutes, and Ray Allen 36 minutes. Perk played only 19 minutes and didn't play at all in the 4th quarter. He was playing well and wasn't in foul trouble so I am not sure why Doc didn't play him in the 4th quarter. Leon Powe played only 7 minutes. PJ Brown played most of the 4th quarter and was on the court at the end of the game. Rondo played 24 minutes but left the game not feeling well. In his post game press conference, Doc said that he wasn't feeling well before the game but wanted to give it a go anyway. He left after 3 quarters with 4 points, 4 rebounds and 7 assists.
KG was definitely playing to win and had a couple of ferocious dunks along with 22 pints, 14 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 steal. Pierce was on fire hitting 10 of 15 shots and 6-9 from beyond the arc. He finished with 28 points, 2 rebounds and 7 assists, but with 6 turnovers, he is still playing out of control at times. Ray Allen was only 4-13 hit only 2 of 7 threes and finished with 13 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. He will need to find his shooting touch again if we are to go far into the playoffs. James Posey once again played big minutes off the bench with 8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals in 30 minutes of play. Big Baby strained a hamstring in the first half and didn't return. He played only 5 minutes.
The Celtics once again had 2 areas of concern that will come back to bite them if they don't solve them before the playoffs. They were 14-21 from the line. Missing 7 free throws is not acceptable and could cost them a close game in the playoffs when every point counts. They also turned the ball over 20 times and this is probably the biggest concern as in the playoffs, every possession is valuable and they can't afford to turn the ball over that many times.
The Celtics shot only 45% from the field while allowing the Wizards to shoot 51%. They settled for way too many outside shots that just weren't falling and they didn't take advantage of a weak interior defense at times to take the ball to the hoop. The Wizards outscored the Celtics in the paint 52-36 and that should never be. For whatever reason, the Celtics defense was out of sync all night and allowed the Wizards open shots and easy drives to the hoop.
The Wizards may be the Celtics second round matchup and by allowing them to beat us in this one, they will be coming in with confidence and momentum on their side. The Celtics on the other hand will need to really focus on their game as they come in at a disadvantage. It was a disappointing loss as it seemed that the Celtics just didn't have any chemistry or rhythm to their game. Their defense was not there tonight. They gave the Wizards a mental edge should they meet in the second round. Hopefully the Celtics will regain their focus and get some momentum going into the playoffs. It is time for Doc to stop experimenting and get down to a set rotation and build toward the playoffs.