Celtics Experience Trumps Overconfident Wizards Youth: From Boston With Pictures and Words | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Celtics Experience Trumps Overconfident Wizards Youth: From Boston With Pictures and Words

Updated: March 8, 2010

“We choked. Six minutes to go, we’re up 13. We got young guys, they don’t know what it’s like to be in the situation. We start talking to Garnett, start talking trash and everything else. Got Garnett and those guys’ juice up and we just pissed  down our leg the last six minutes.

You have a veteran team that knows how to close out games against a young team that hasn’t been there. Instead of letting a sleeping dog lie, we just juiced up their energy. We had players coming out of timeouts, we had guys going to the wrong side of the floor. We were so discombobulated.”

-Flip Saunders

The above quote, obviously from Flip Saunders, also accompanies the preceding video. Now there’s a lot of talk today about how Andray Blatche was “woofing” it up with Kevin Garnett on Sunday night … or, taking the bait that Old Man KG was dipping into his pond. Maybe ‘Dray could have acted better, but he wasn’t the only antagonist from the Wizards. JaVale McGee and Al Thornton, to me, were the main culprits in waking sleeping dogs, giants, dragons and whatever else you want to call the Boston Celtics.

Granted, I wasn’t at the game in person, so I couldn’t see everything that went on. But I did watch it twice, once on the Comcast feed and once on the ESPN feed. I didn’t notice Blatche talking smack as much … and not to say he didn’t. But I take the described instance of Garnett trying to take the ball away from Andray (and the replay I’ve seen) more as Dray trying to stand up for himself. Again, he probably could have just dropped the ball and kept walking. But he didn’t.

Nevertheless, let’s go over some of the game’s other happenings in screen shots and words …

1st Q – 8:55: After dunking past Kevin Garnett and over Kendrick Perkins, JaVale McGee emphatically yelled and gyrated his body in an odd celebratory manner … as if he just slayed a dragon (and it was much more exaggerated than what is shown in the pictures below).

{JaVale McGee, baby dragon slayer?}

After McGee’s dunk, it was just 6-4 Celtics … probably should not have done all that. I know the young fella was excited, but I’m not sure how much this helps when you are the 21-win Wizards against the 40-win Celtics.

Ric Bucher, ESPN sideline reporter:

JaVale McGee played on their summer league team and was so disappointing, they had some real questions whether he was going to be apart of their team moving forward. It wasn’t actually until they made the big trade with Dallas and he started to get consistent minutes that they began to believe that he could be a building block.

Not buying it, Ric. I mean, I understand there have been some behind the scenes things with McGee that I don’t know about … such as whispers of his mom not being the easiest to deal with (what mother protecting her young baby boy isn’t, I suppose), among JaVale being too worried about other things like Twitter followers, music producing, etc. — Of course, extra curricular activities such as these will almost always draw some criticism, no matter how non-valid an affecting factor they may be.

But I really don’t believe there were “real” questions over if McGee was going to be apart of the team moving forward. The kid is still young and really, really talented. If the franchise stuck with Andray Blatche for so long, would they really be ready to give up on McGee so early? I think not, Ric..

{1st Quarter Bullets}

  • Boston tried Kendrick Perkins on Blatche early and it wasn’t happening. But Boston wasn’t exactly going to put the hobbled Garnett on Dray, were they?
  • Andray was killing with his high-release, high-arcing, close-range jumpers that he was taking off baseline screens that Perkins couldn’t hang with, or off the dribble when Perkins gave him too much room.
  • Dray even hit a runnner with his right hand while going to his left. His touch is very natural.
  • Al Thornton has a nose for rebounding the ball. He fights for position against his man and doesn’t only focus on going after the ball. He also follows the flight of the ball.
  • Of course, Thornton spent a lot of time complaining to the refs about calls (for almost the whole game), which I’m sure didn’t endear him to them.

{Garnett’s Illegal Screens}

Here is Kevin Garnett, set for a pick.
For one, Andray Blatche needs to be more aware of what’s going on.
For two, this will illustrate how Garnett always sets illegal screens.

As Miller tries to get around him, Garnett takes a step back into Mike. Again, Andray should be aware. But you can’t tell me that’s a legal screen by Garnett. The refs always let him get away with putting his butt out into the body of the opponent.

The red dot is where Garnett’s left foot started when he was initially set for the screen. It has obviously moved. That would make this a moving screen, which is illegal. Not to say the Wizards always set perfect, non-moving screens. But it is to say that the refs never consistently deal with that call.

Oh yea, Ray Allen got a layup via a pass from Perkins while Andray Blatche was just chillin’, hands in pockets. The ball might have even grazed Dray’s ear. Being lazy without your hands up is not even close to seven days of work.

{2nd Quarter Bullets}

  • Blatche still doesn’t have a ton of fire on the boards, especially on the defensive boards when it comes to blocking his man out.
  • Defensive footwork, Blatche has it in him. The toughness to move and stop Kendrick Perkins from stepping middle and then spinning baseline and dunking on him? Not last night.
  • 3:07 >> McGee blocks Paul Pierce … great block, an absolutely astounding block … especially after McGee previously made Garnett look like the oldest he looked on the night with a block. But as his teammates recovered the ball and went the other way on offense, JaVale walked out of bounds, gyrating and pumping his chest again. That crap really has to stop. Get back down the floor with your teammates.
  • Again, excitement is great. But sometimes he should take pride in the actual accomplishment instead of feeling the need to yell and scream about it while the ball is still in play.

{Flip Saunders can yell too.}

{3rd Quarter Bullets}

  • Al Thornton jacks some crazy shots that I’m not awlays comfortable with. Also, for all that hustle and athleticism, he needs to get better at fighting through screens.

I thought this play was particularly funny. Because of rotations, McGee goes to close out on Pierce at the three-point line. But after a pump fake, McGee all of a sudden runs away from Piece, giving him an open lane to drive.

Pierce went to the hoop, out of control, and Blatche tried to take a charge but was called for a block. It was probably the right call, but in regular time it looked bad. So, Flip Saunders got a tech.

I guess it’s one of those things were Garnett and Perkins can just run around setting picks like football players. If you call everything, they’ll foul out in the first half. None of this makes it right. This play, I don’t even think either moved much here, but I’m not sure how K.G. and Perkins were both allowed to set picks on each side of Foye … and by allowed, I mean I’m not sure how the Wizards allowed it to happen.

Of course, as Foye runs into Garnett, he puts his arms high, gives Randy a pseudo hold, and then backs into Foye as he tries to go around, bumping Randy ever further off his path.

The things they can get away with. But hey, at least Blatche and McGee are pointing.

This is where Al Thornton just puts his head down without knowing what’s going on around him. On the break, he dribbles on top of Miller, tries to go against everyone, and then get the ball knocked away from him by Garnett and out of bounds off of him… turnover.

Maybe there could have been a call, but Thornton was not in control. And a pass could have been made to Miller, who had Garnett beat, or perhaps to Blatche on the left.

{4th Quarter Bullets}

  • Sometimes McGee puts the ball on the floor and starts to use his stride, but with having no idea of where he is going and what he is doing. It’s like he panics and just thinks he can get to the rim… or something.
  • But you have to give a lot of credit to the kid. Less and less, he is shying away from contract. For pretty much the whole game, he wasn’t afraid to put his nose in the fire. And he at least is trying to use his length for something other than blocking shots when he tries to get to the hoop.

6:10 >> Blatche hits a big/tough shot to put the Wizards up 79-66. Boston takes timeout. From what I can tell, most of the Wizards jog toward the bench, including Blatche … although, I can’t exactly be sure that he didn’t say anything. But what I am sure of is that JaVale McGee starts yelling and gyrating again, as he has done for almost the whole game, and it’s just about in Ray Allen’s face, a guy from whom the Wizards would hear before all was said and done.

And then it all went downhill for the young Wizards.

5:56 >> Pierce immediately runs through an array of screens that gets the Wizards scrambling everywhere…. FT line jumper. 79-68 Wizards.

5:26 >> Wizards dribble around, etc. almost get a shot clock violation. Bad, forced miss by Foye.

5:05 >> Pierce puts his arm on Thornton on off-ball defense. Al gets frustrated and emphatically knocks Paul away from him. The refs see the reaction and call an offensive foul. Turnover.

4:45 >> Hero ball – Foye takes a deep three off the dribble, miss. Boston goes the other way, Ray Allen dunk. 79-72 Wizards.

3:53 >> More dribbling around, Celtics defensive pressure is racheted up, Thornton forced to call timeout.

3:47 >> The Wizards take out the ball with six seconds on the shot clock… and Randy Foye holds the ball for a couple seconds. Huh? Exactly.

Foye then realizes, too late, that he doesn’t have time to waste and drives to the basket. Unfortunately it ends like most Foye drives … he has to force up a crazy runner that goes air-ball. Shot clock violation. Turnover.

3:37 >> Thornton gets in Foye’s way as his man, Pierce, is setting a pick for Rondo. Instead of hedging out on Rondo and getting him off his path, Thornton runs into Foye, his own man, and trips him up. Rondo is free to make a layup. 79-74 Wizards.

3:09 >> Blatche jumps to pass, no where to go but a turnover.

2:57 >> Pierce with another jumper, been sporting a serious face since the timeout at six minutes. 79-76 Wizards.

1:56 >> Garnett fouled hard by Andray Blatche. Some say Dray flung K.G. out of bounds. Maybe he did.

I do know this is the instance where Garnett was helped off the ground by a teammate while smiling. Why was he smiling? I believe because of Al Thornton.

After the foul, Dray kept himself away from the action, relatively. However, Thornton went right to the area where Garnett fell. You can hear it on TV, Thornton says “You alright?” several times but doesn’t exactly seem to be concerned about Garnett. Methinks he is being condescending toward the old man, probably because Garnett has been dirty and talking trash all night. Still, walk away Al. KG makes one of two free-throws. 81-77 Wizards.

1:42 >> Foye drives, he can’t. Misses.

1:32 >> Celtics get an offensive rebound off a missed free throw. The Wizards aren’t putting a body on people. This results in Ray Allen being wide open for a three. 82-81 Celtics.

1:16 >> Randy Foye hits a tough FT line jumper, just the Wizards’ second field-goal since the 6:00 mark and their last points of the game. 83-82 Wizards.

0:33 >> I can’t completely blame Foye for taking this shot … I guess. An open opportunity did present itself. But Foye had been ice cold all night (finished the game 3-14), except for that previous shot. Seems like yet another instance of Randy playing Hero Ball. He missed.

0:17 >> Ray Allen springs free for a game winning three pointer.

I know people want to blame Mike Miller here … and the dude did not have a good game, but he certainly was not being helped by his teammates nor the refs.

Below is my first, dirty attempt at a .GIF … which are actually pretty easy to make in Photoshop, so I might break down more plays like this in the future, but better graphically. In any case …

So Perkins and Garnett set a mightily imposing off the ball double-screen on Miller and for Ray Allen. And again, Garnett is doing his part to stick his butt out into Miller at the end of the screen. Garnett is moving. This should not be allowed. Sure, maybe you don’t make that call at the end of the game … but whatever, it’s illegal regardless. If you allow Garnett to get away with such acts all the time, he will do them all the time.

Second, Andray Blatche sees what is happening, but he’s not much help at all. Does he really think Miller can cleanly make it through an illegal double screen here? The play is clearly being run for Allen. But just like Blatche showed little awareness in helping out on Miller being screened earlier, he is doing so again now. Defense is a team effort, you can’t leave guys out on an island.

And well, that was it. Allen hit the shot, and the Wizards ultimately could not convert on a three-point attempt at the buzzer that would have tied the game.

That’s how the Celtics were able to spank the young puppies who bit them and send them home with their tails tucked between their legs.

That’s how experience trumped overconfident youth.

That’s how Boston beat Washington 86-83.

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.