The Celtics came out strong in this game and looked like they were going to run away with this game in a blow out. The Celtics sprinted out to a 17-2 start in which the Wizards' only points came on a Kevin Garnett goal tending call, which was actually a clean block. At the end of the first quarter, the Celtics were up 26-12 and led by 7 at the half. The Wizards' second unit was much better than their starters in this game and brought the Wizards back after their starters fell behind and the second unit kept them in the game until the very end.
Doc mixed up his starting lineup for this game, starting Jared Sullinger and bringing Brandon Bass off the bench. This seemed to be a good move as Sully gave the Celtics an inside presence and a rebounder while Bass gave the second unit some much needed scoring. But Washington, led by a bench unit that included some hot shooting from Crawford and Seraphin, mounted a slow and steady comeback. They got to within two at 69-67 with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter. Jeff Green and Paul Pierce hit back to back threes to give the Celtics a little breathing room.
Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, center, battles for the ball
against Washington Wizards guard Jannero Pargo, left, and Kevin
Seraphin, right, of France, during the first half of an NBA basketball
game on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
But, Washington wouldn't go away and took their first, and only, lead in the game with 2:52 left in the game. A Paul Pierce 3 put Boston back up by 1 and they wouldn't relinquish the lead again. Both teams missed on final-minute scoring opportunities
before Jason Terry sealed the win with two free throws with 1.2 seconds remaining. The Wizards missed their final shot giving the Celtics the 3 point win.
Doc has talked a lot about small ball and we have seen several different small ball lineups. Tonight Doc used an effective big ball lineup that we should see more this season with Rondo, Pierce, Green, Sully and KG. That's a lineup that is very hard for teams to match up with and they were effective in this game.
Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce (34) goes to the basket against
Washington Wizards small forward Trevor Ariza (1) and Bradley Beal (3)
during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, Nov. 3,
2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Pierce led the way with 27 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. He also was aggressive on the defensive end. KG also came up big with 15 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block. Sully played well in his first career start with 4 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 block. Courtney Lee struggled with his shot, hitting just 2 of 7 for 4 points to go with 2 rebounds and 1 assist, but he defended the Wizards' rookie, Beal, very well. Rajon Rondo rounds out the starting 5 with a double double of 12 points and 12 assists to go with 5 rebounds and 2 steals.
The Celtics bench was outscored 63-27. The Wizards bench also outscored their own starers. Bass played well off the bench scoring 5 points, grabbing 5 rebounds, dishing 2 assists and blocking 2 shots. Green once again struggled to find the game we saw in the preseason but we saw flashes of it as he scored 11 points on 5-10 shooting to go with 2 rebounds. Jason Terry again struggled with his shot shooting just 2-8 for 8 points but he was very active on defense with 2 steals and also had 3 assists.
Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger (7) goes to the basket against
Washington Wizards forward Kevin Seraphin, right, of France, during the
first half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, in
Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
The Celtics are still a work in progress but we saw some signs that they are starting to put it together. They played solid defense in the first half but seemed to tire and let up in the second half. The bench is still trying to find chemistry but it is coming. The biggest improvement can be seen in the fact that they turned the ball over just 9 times. They were out-rebounded by the Wizards 46-35 and so once again, they need to work on rebounding. They held the Wizards to 43.6% shooting, but only shot 42.9% themselves. There is still much to work on, but there are signs that they are coming around.
All in all, it was a good win in the second of back to back games on the road. That situation has usually meant an automatic loss in the past. The Celtics will face this same Wizards team on Wednesday in Boston. Hopefully the 3 days off between now and then will give them time to clean up some of the other areas they need to work on.