Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wizards 118 – Celtics 102: C's close out season with a loss at home

Boston – On a night meant to honor fans at TD Garden and survivors of the Boston Marathon tragedy from a year ago, the Celtics dropped their final game of the regular season. The playoff bound Wizards made sure to grab the fifth seed after beating the C’s, 118-102.

Only eight Celtics players suited up to play against the Wizards.

The Celtics faithful filled the arena with their signs and chants of hope for what is to come next season and beyond. It was a celebration of always standing by the boys in green through the ups and downs.

For the Wizards they saw an opportunity to move up a seed in the Eastern Conference picture and they seized it. Bradley Beal led his team with 27 points and seven rebounds, while Trevor Booker added 20 points and Marcin Gortat chipped in with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Six players finished in double figures for Washington, who will face the Bulls in their playoff match-up, their first since 2008.

“It’s a great thing for us to be in the situation we’re in,” said Beal. “For me being my second year, a lot of guys haven’t been through it.”

Boston finished their season without Rajon Rondo, Jerryd Bayless, Kris Humphries or Jared Sullinger in the lineup. The final 25-57 record is the third worst in franchise history and one more win better than the infamous 2006-07’ season of 24-58, the season before they won their 17th championship banner.

Kelly Olynyk led the Celtics for the third straight game, tallying 24 points and seven rebounds. Jeff Green added 20 points and Avery Bradley chipped in with 18 in the loss. Phil Pressey finished with 10 assists and nine points in his start at the point guard spot. Brandon Bass had a great night with 16 points and seven rebounds but not before he was given the Red Auerbach Award after player introductions. The award is given to a player or coach who best exemplifies the spirit of Celtics Pride.

Both teams played very little defense in the first 24 minutes. But the Wizards never trailed in this one,  they led, 68-56, at halftime. The Celtics made a 14-6 run in the third quarter capped off by a Brandon Bass jumper to pull within four at 74-70. Once Olynyk picked up his fifth foul halfway through the quarter, coach Brad Stevens pulled him from the game and Gortat scored the next eight points as part of a Washington 13-3 run to go up, 87-73. By the start of the fourth quarter the Wizards were up by 16 and never looked back on their route to go ahead of the Nets in the standings.

“I’m not concerned that we aren’t going to strive to get better,” said Stevens when asked to reflect on team in his first year as an NBA coach. “I think we will work. I think their work ethics are good, and I think their coach-ability is pretty good.

The Celtics closed their season dropping 11 of their last 13 games. This is the earliest in franchise history that the C’s will end their year.

With lots of questions to be answered, let the ping-pong balls bounce away in the upcoming weeks. Until then, enjoy the NBA playoffs. From all of us here on Causeway Street, thank you all over the continued support this season. Stay tuned this summer!

Game Notes:
After the first quarter the Celtics brought out the survivors of the Boston Marathon tragedy to center court. They got a lengthy standing ovation. Jared Sullinger addressed the home crowd before tip-off saying “We want to thank you for your endless support and passion throughout the whole season. Hopefully we’ll come back better next year.” Jeff Green and Brandon Bass were the only two Celtic players to play all 82-games this season.

Joel Pavón

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