Celtics hang on to beat the Wizards 110-104 in Greg Monroe's debut
Fresh off of inking buyout big man Greg Monroe, the Boston Celtics were coy on whether he'd take the floor in the team's quest to complete a sweep of the Washington Wizards at home.
With star point guard John Wall sidelined and Kyrie Irving back for his second game after missing several due to a bruised quad, such an outcome seemed likely despite Marcus Smart still nursing a self-inflicted wound.
The opening tip was won by Washington, but quickly turned over, leading to an easy layup for Jayson Tatum to score the first bucket of the tilt. The game stayed close early with each team trading baskets, but Boston settled for several bad shots that prevented them from gaining separation, with the quarter ending 26-27 Wizards.
The second started in earnest on Monroe picking up a tech after arguing with a referee over a foul, only to follow it up with a block seconds later. The game stayed close with neither team able to build a lead, with the struggle for Boston to find a rhythm with their new addition showing despite the talent and effort being there. Even with both teams turning the ball over repeatedly, the game remained a one-possession affair, seeing the Wizards take a 51-49 lead into halftime.
Kyrie opened the second half with a trey to put Boston on top, followed by a pair of makes by Tatum and Aron Baynes to give the Celtics their biggest lead of the evening for either team, a mere five points. The Wizards quickly fought their way back, but a pair of steals by Jaylen Brown and Baynes turned the tables right back around again. Boston managed to keep a small lead as the third wound down on the effort of Al Horford and Irving.
The Celts quickly squandered their small lead as Ian Mahinmi showed signs of life early in the fourth quarter, but Boston - and Monroe - seemed to finally gel as the frame progressed, with the Cs building their biggest lead of the night, 86-78 with just under seven remaining. They would push it as high as ten before the Wizards chipped it back down to three with just as many minutes left.
Soon after, however, a trey by Kelly Oubre gave Washington their first lead of the quarter, and both teams traded buckets as the game wound down to the final moments. An Irving miss and subsequent foul by Terry Rozier gave the Wizards a three-point lead as Otto Porter converted from the stripe. Markieff Morris somehow fouled Irving shooting a three, however, and Kyrie made all of them, sending the game to overtime.
The extra period began with Marcin Gortat nailing a circus shot, but Kyrie answered back to tie it back up. Somehow, Morris ended up fouling Irving in a repeat of the play sending the game to overtime, with Kyrie hitting all three once again. A Gortat and-one on the very next play tied it right back. Boston jumped in front on a Brown cut to make it 105-102 with 2:30 left, and he added to it soon after with a trey. Irving extended the lead with a pair of free throws, and the Celtics won 110-104.