Happy New Year to all Celtic fans as the team carries over the success against the Pistons into Washington where they beat the Wizards 94-86. Washington is still looking for their first win of the season.
The Wizards are led by John Wall who is not having the most successful start to his sophomore campaign with only 13 points and 6 assists per game. The Wizards famously had a weird situation happen last game for them where Flip Saunders forgot to activate Roger Mason in the line up, then proceeded to substitute the player in.
This is the perfect opponent for the Celtics to get back on track as they try to recover from their three loss road trip. Paul Pierce is in the starting line up again, however, it is unlikely that we see the Captain play starters minutes. Washington has two large bodies in the paint, so my focus on this game will be the defensive end, more importantly the points in the paint battle.
The Celtic bigs have done an average job handling the defensive paint to start the game. One play they allowed a JaVale McGeee to split the defense for an easy dunk, on another play Kevin did a fantastic job of denying the entry pass. The team will need to help prevent easy entry passes to the Wizards bigs early in the shot clock. Right now, Washington is struggling to spread the floor forcing rushed shot attempts.
Stiemsma, Marquis Daniels and Avery Bradley come in with a little over two minutes left in the first to join Keyon and Brandon Bass. Keeping the lead or extending is always the goal of the bench, not play like the score is 0-0. The bench held their ground, as the first quarter ends Boston ahead 28-17. Execution on both ends has been exceptional which will make Doc Rivers a happy man.
Boston starts the second quarter Avery Bradley, Keyon Dooling, Marquis Daniels, Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett. We get our first television timeout with 9:44 left in the second quarter as the team moves the lead to 13 points leading 32-19.
The first half ends with the Celtics defense doing the heavy lifting holding Washington to 17 points per quarter. Washington has stopped trying to work the ball into the big guys resulting in the guards trying to do too much. Thankfully for the Celtics, the Wizards haven’t figured out that the ball moves faster through passing opposed to dribbling.
Kevin Garnett is leading the Celtics in scoring with 12 points and 6 rebounds as they hold a lead of 51-34. Rajon Rondo is on his way to another triple double with 6 points, 9 assists and 4 rebounds. Boston needs to continue the ball movement as they have 10 out of the 11 players with at least one made basket.
A couple of baskets by the Wizards to start the second half have forced Doc into a timeout. The starters are playing as if they have already won the game. After the time out they pick up the intensity and ball movement showing that the reminder has worked for the moment.
Rajon makes offense look easy as he feeds Jermaine an easy dunk attempt. Getting everyone involved is what Rondo does best. Another feature of Rondo’s game is drawing fouls, usually none shooting during the change of possessions and fast breaks. Closing out the quarter on an eight to two run, the Celtics lead 73-60 heading into the fourth quarter.
Ray Allen and the bench hold the lead for the rest of the starters with 8:37 left leading the Wizards 90-69 after John Wall nails a three. John Wall is taking advantage of Rondo’s rest time. Boston takes a time out as Washington cuts the lead to 7, trailing 80-73 with 7:44 left in the game.
Boston runs the lead back to 13 with a couple of easy baskets due to forced turnovers. Kevin Garnett has been collecting the basketball much stronger than he has in the first few games, finally has some juice left in that body. The ball movement has returned and so has the double digit lead. It’s wonderful to see this team play offensive when all five players on the court touch the ball.
Rajon Rondo got his first triple double of the season with 2:50 left in the game as he seems to be everywhere on the basketball court. Washington takes a time out trailing the Celtics 94-79. The Celtics have recaptured the rebounding battle as they look to close this game out. Many Washington fans have already left the building.
Doc Rivers pulls the starters with 1:39 left to go, as we have seen a lot of the bench play throughout this season so far. The more time they can get on the floor the more ready they will be come playoff time. Boston closed out the game with a 94-86 win, in a game that was not as close as the score says.