Wizards Defeat the Celtics: The Glass Is Half Full Once Again | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Wizards Defeat the Celtics: The Glass Is Half Full Once Again

By
Updated: April 11, 2018

“…We wanted to get a win. We wanted to feel good about ourselves going into the last couple days of the season.” —Scott Brooks

The Washington Wizards’ 113-101 win over the Boston Celtics wasn’t a win that finalized their seeding in the upcoming playoffs. And even against a depleted team that seemed to run out of energy after the first quarter, the Wiz still exhibited some of the same problematic issues that had plagued the team during its recent four-game losing streak.

But given that Wall probably won’t play tonight against the Orlando Magic due to his scheduled rest on the second night of back-to-back games, and Otto Porter (calf) is also likely to sit out the season finale as a precautionary measure, this served as a final dress rehearsal for Coach Brooks. His team responded—for the most part.

Jaylen Brown was a one-man show in the first quarter with 21 points, 15 of which came from the 3-point line. Yes, he hit some insanely tough shots with the hands of Marcin Gortat, Bradley Beal, Porter and Wall in his face, but there were also substandard defensive rotations mixed in there as well, which gave Brown open looks sans resistance. Brown’s hot shooting combined with six turnovers from the Wizards (two apiece from Wall and Porter) gave Boston confidence and a 30-22 first quarter lead.

The first glimpse of what the late-season Wizards are capable of came in the second quarter, when they chipped away at Boston’s lead. Over the first five minutes of the quarter, the bench allowed the lead to get up to ten points, but then they worked it down to four points thanks to a return to the “everyone eats” mentality. All five players (Porter, Tomas Satoransky, Mike Scott, Ian Mahinmi, and Kelly Oubre) scored, hustled, assisted and grabbed rebounds, and, most importantly, they prevented the Celtics from turning the game into a blowout.

At the 7:05 mark of the second quarter, the Wizards trailed 39-33. Then Wall re-entered the game (along with Beal) and he immediately went to work. Wall temporarily put aside his facilitator hat and he decided to wear the assertive one: He scored 10 points via drives, 3-point shots, jumpers, and the free-throw line, and there wasn’t a damn thing Terry Rozier, Shane Larkin or Jaylen Brown could do about it.

By halftime, the deficit was just two points, 54-52.

If there were any doubts that Wall could ramp up his level play before the playoffs, this was the sample size that proved it.

Wall did have three turnovers during that span, which came as a result of him driving, getting stuck, and then throwing an ill-advised, telegraphed pass—much like he did at the end of the loss to Cleveland Cavaliers last week.

Coach Brooks addressed that minor flaw after the game:

“I think sometimes he’s looking for his teammates and sometimes he’s looking for them late and that’s when he’s getting those late, late passes in transition. Once he gets his rhythm down, those are layup opportunities or single passes, as I call them.”

The Wizards finally put everything together in the third quarter, where they outscored the Celtics 27-18.  Oubre, who started the third quarter for the injured Porter, struggled on offense with no points, but redeemed himself defensively by limiting Jaylen Brown to just one shot and one point. The Wizards collectively held the Celtics to just 18 percent shooting (including 1-8 from the 3-point line).

Wall continued to be aggressive offensively with eight points on four shots, but this time he also peppered in assists (the Wizards had nine overall in the quarter). Morris had eight points, Beal hit a wide-open 3-pointer and even Gorat got in on the fun with four points of his own.

The Wizards led 79-72 after three quarters.

Satoransky began the fourth with an assist, and a steal, that led to three Bradley Beal free throws which pushed the lead to double figures 78 seconds into the period, and the Wizards’ lead did not dip into single digits thereafter. Gone was the selfish play Coach Brooks bellyached about during the four-game losing streak, and in its place was a sharing brand of basketball—and everyone seemed to correct the flaws in their game at the expense of the Celtics.

Mike Scott, for example, found his fleeting shooting touch (3-4), and Oubre, who had already played a stellar defensive game, broke out of a 9-for-31 shooting slump in the month of April to shoot 3-for-4 in the final quarter (3-3 from the 3-point line)and 4-for-8 overall.

But the night clearly belonged to John Wall. His seven turnovers were less than ideal, but the 29 pints, 12 assists, three steals, and three blocks in just 36 minutes did more than enough to offset that. He also became the third-youngest player behind Isiah Thomas (from the Pistons) and Magic Johnson to reach 5,000 assists. Not a bad night. Not bad company, either.

The Wizards will not know who they will start their 2017-2018 playoff charge against, nor where, until the end of tonight’s action. They could play the depleted Celtics, the East-leading Raptors, the charging Sixers, or the incumbent Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers.  They won’t have home court advantage, and they figure to be underdogs against each of those team except the Celtics—although the C’s have arguably the best coach in the NBA, Brad Stevens, so nothing is a given.

But what Coach Brooks, John Wall and the rest of the Wizards gang do know is that they have the ability–when they are healthy, willing to share the ball and engage on defense—to beat every team in the Eastern Conference.

That’s gotta feel good. And for now, that means the glass is half full.

Rashad Mobley on FacebookRashad Mobley on InstagramRashad Mobley on Twitter
Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop, USAToday.com, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.