|Photo: Brad Mills (USA TODAY)
Last night's game at the Verizon Center started out the same way it did the last time these two teams went at it, except this time the Celtics didn't erase a 23-point deficit, Celtics fell behind 15-2 in the opening quarter and never came close to closing the gap.
The Wizards at one point had a 24-point lead as they beat the Celtics, 101-88.
"They weren't going to let us back tonight," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "You could feel it, you could see it."Former Celtics captain Paul Pierce scored 8 points in the game's first three minutes in everyway one can score the basketball; a layup, a jump shot, a three pointer and at the foul line. He scored 11 first quarter points. The Wizards led 30-12 at the end of the first quarter. Pierce finished the game with 17 points, and 2 steals.
Kris Humphries scored 18 points and pulled down 9 rebounds off the bench for Washington, and all-star John Wall dished out 7 assists to go with his 12 points, including a spectacular 360-layup that got everyone out of their seats. Celtics shot 1-for-7 in the beginning of the first quarter and turned the ball over seven times.
|Photo: Nick Wass (Associated Press)
"Teams are just coming out and smacking us in the mouth," Sullinger said after the game. "People feel like we're sweet, we're soft. We've just got to play tough."Although the Wizards are one of the best teams in the east, the Celtics weren't aggressive. There was no sense of urgency. The scoring was even throughout the last three quarters but the first quarter deficit was too big of a hole for the Celtics to climb out of.
"They really took the game to us," Brad Stevens said. "I mean, they dictated from every which way. They were into us. They were physical. They were aggressive. They got down the floor faster. They played really well, and if we don't match that early against them, it's going to be an uphill battle. We were in an uphill battle one time here and we were fortunate to get back in it. Obviously that wasn't the case tonight. They really took advantage of us right out of the gate. I thought we had some good individual performances, but collectively we were out of sync all night."Celtics will look to snap their four-game losing streak on New Year's Eve when they take on the Sacramento Kings at TD Garden.
Although the Celtics committed 18 turnovers, so did the Wizards. But it was Washington's rebounding and inside scoring that hurt the Celtics. The Wizards outrebounded the C's 48-36 and outscored them in the paint, 34-44... C's are now 1-4 since the Rondo trade. Jameer Nelson has led the team in assists, he's averaging six assists per game throughout the four-game losing streak... Sullinger twisted his right ankle when he stepped on someone's foot while going after a rebound. He told reporters after the game that it was: "No big deal"