Celtics fall just short in double-overtime thriller vs. Wizards, 125-124
With six players ruled out for their game against the visiting Washington Wizards, including five who have started this year, not much was expected out of Brad Stevens and his depleted Boston Celtics.
If you just took a look at the starting lineup and active players for the Green, it was clearly visible the team playing tonight would be a shell of themselves. With Guerschon Yabusele slated for his first career NBA start and Terry Rozier getting the nod for just the fourth time in his time in the league as well, Stevens knew he’d be riding the youth movement hard but had confidence in his squad.
So to make it official:
Boston Celtics tonight vs. Washington...
Starters: Rozier, Tatum, Morris, Yabusele, Baynes
Bench: Larkin, Allen, Nader, Bird, Ojeleye, Monroe
After the first six minutes of the game, if fans didn’t know half the C’s roster was out, the score clearly wasn’t any indication either.
Getting off to an unreal 21-6 start as they came out of the gates firing, Marcus Morris continued to make good use of his starting gig for the meantime as he got things going early for Boston. Tallying 10 points in the opening quarter, Mook made use of the deep ball as he went 2-3 from beyond the arc and his teammates got in the action as well.
Celtics on pace for one of their highest scoring first quarters of season with Rozier/Tatum/Morris/Yabusele/Baynes lineup 🤷♂️
Scoring 6 points on 3-4 shooting from the field, Jayson Tatum had himself a nice little start to the game as he did his best Paul Pierce impression knocking down a few jumpers from mid-range. This was nice to see from the Celtics rook as he’ll need to step up a lot in the absence of the other three everyday starters currently in recovery (Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, and Kyrie Irving).
Overall the first quarter might have been one of the best for Stevens’ team this year surprisingly. Finishing the opening frame up 37-23, the C’s would go into the second quarter with a full head of steam.
Continuing where they left off as they began the second quarter, Boston stayed on the offensive. Having been subbed in late in the first, Greg Monroe and Abdel Nader (remember that guy?!?) did a phenomenal job in keeping the team’s pace as they were making nice contributions. Totaling 8 points and 6 boards while he was in there, Monroe did a great job controlling the paint for the C’s too.
Those two weren’t the only guys off the bench who wanted to get in on the fun for Boston. Scoring 7 points in a relatively quick stint, Shane Larkin looked like any knee soreness he may have had hopefully subsided. Making a couple nice plays to set up teammates and adding a few nice buckets (especially his layup to finish the first).
Although the Green looked like they might be on Easy Street the whole game, Washington quickly ended any notion as they finished the first half on a 23-10 run narrowing the lead to just 7 points down from the 20 (TWENTY) point differential that stood earlier.
Between the other Morris twin, Markieff, trying his best to emulate his brother's first quarter for the Wizards and the Celtics shooting going cold, the team entered the tunnel looking like it might be in for a tough second half.
Halftime: Celtics 59, Wizards 52.
Morris (11 points) and Tatum (10 points) paced the Celtics in scoring in the first half. Monroe added 8 points and 7 rebounds off the bench. Larkin: 7 points.
Keeping up their attack from the end of the second, the Wizards continued to chip away at the C's lead as the third frame began. Led by Bradley Beal, who had a hand in Washington's run at the end of the first half, the University of Florida product didn't make things easy on Boston at all. Knocking down a few shots from long-range as he's well-known to do, Beal also did a great job facilitating the ball as he had tallied 7 assists by the end of the third.
Beal's fellow Chaminade High School alumni (St.Louis, MO), Tatum and his Celtic teammates weren't ready to let the game slip just yet though. As the University of Duke product added a few more buckets to total 12 points by the start of the fourth period, three other C's had reached double-digits as well as Morris had now led the team with 18, Terry Rozier had 10, and Monroe had 12 himself. Beyond scoring at the rim to perfection (he literally went 7-7 to start), Moose also continued to hold down the fort inside for Boston when he was on the court tallying 8 rebounds by this point too.
End of 3Q: Wizards 81, Celtics 80
Wiz are up to 53.3% shooting and Beal has a game-high 21 points. Morris leads the Celtics with 18 points.
With the game trending towards a wire-to-wire finish, it's not surprise the two teams continued to battle throughout the fourth until the final minutes.
As the Wizards had entered the quarter with a point lead, 81-80, Boston did quick work in extinguishing it as they quickly took back the advantage to start the final period as Terry knocked down a three-ball. The next few minutes of the period would see a lot of back-and-forth as neither team could distance itself far enough to coast to victory.
Having a pretty solid night all game, Ian Mahinmi went to work inside knocking down a few looks inside as he continued to make an impact on the glass for the Wizards. However, as previously mentioned, he wouldn't be the only one to have his way down low and Monroe quickly was subbed back in to help off-set Mahinmi's presence.
This seemed to help the C's defense a lot as they had a lot easier time getting settled against matchups with #55 on the court. One guy who definitely didn't have a problem regardless of who was on the court or not was the Morris twin playing for the good guys.
Easily the Celtics' player of the game for the night, Mook did an incredible job in carrying the team throughout most of the game but as he's done many times this year, he shined brightest when Stevens' and his squad needed him most.
Leading the team with 27 points as the game neared it's end, things seemed all about wrapped up for the night as Boston took a three-point lead after a couple made free-throws with about 10 seconds left. As we know though, things don't always go as planned and that was exactly the case for the C's as they weren't able to close things up as time ran out.
After a missed three by Beal, Washington ran a great out of bounds play with Otto Porter Jr catching the pass and driving to the lane almost as if to take the quick two, only to end up dishing it out to Jodie Meeks beyond the arc. As Meeks connected on the shot from beyond, the score was officially tied 106-106 as the final buzzer rang and OT would ensue.
The overtime period began with a little more back and forth as Washington drew first blood with Porter Jr knocking down a three. As he had the whole night though, Mook wasn't going to let his performance be spoiled just yet as he quickly answered back with a quick mid-range jumper.
Both teams poured in a couple baskets but once again, neither we're able to gain enough separation on each other. With Washington up by two with one possession left in hand for Boston, it was now the C's turn to come up big and they did with Tatum knocking down an incredible layup for the hoop and the harm to tie things up 115-115.
Although the following free-throw would've given the team the lead with just 3.3 seconds left in the first overtime, the Celtics rookie was not able to knock down his look from the charity stripe and the teams headed to a second OT.
Making up for his miss from the line, Jay Smooth did add another nice drive to the rack to give the Celtics' another lead but unfortunately, this would be Boston's last of the game.
As the Wizards we're able to get some more big buckets out of Porter Jr and their Morris twin, they took a five point lead at 122-117 and things looked pretty dim for the Green. Showing one last sign of life, Rozier was able to knock down one more big three and bring the game within one after Nader added two points on a nice drive to the rim but that's where the final tally would stand.
As Tatum missed a three to win with time running out, the Celtics had officially fell just short and lost 125-124.