Monday, December 8, 2014

Wizards 133 - Celtics 132 (2 OT): Pierce & Wall Snap C's Win Streak

Photo: Getty Images
Washington - It was only 24 hours removed from one of the best wins of the season for the Celtics, beating Paul Pierce and the Wizards in a Sunday matinee at the TD Garden. Last night John Wall returned the favor while his team blew a 23-point lead in front of the Verizon Center home crowd. It took 58 minutes, but Washington rallied in the second overtime to put Boston away 133-132.

Not only did former Celtic Pierce lead the Wizards in scoring with a season high of 28 points, but he also jumped ahead of Reggie Miller for 16th on the NBA all-time scoring list. Wall finished with 27 points and a career high 17 assists, and Marcin Gortat added 21 points and 12 rebounds in the win, that improved Washington to 14-6 and 10-2 at home.

Jeff Green, who usually plays well in his hometown of D.C., was the Celtics leading scorer with 28 points. Rookie Marcus Smart, who led the fourth quarter comeback, had his best outing as a pro, going 7-of-14 from the field (including 4-8 from the 3) for 23 points in 35 minutes of action. Kelly Olynyk added 19 points and 11 rebounds and Evan Turner chipped in with 18 points and eight assists for Boston, that finished with six players in double-figures.

The Celtics only scored 16 second quarter points and trailed 58-45 at halftime. The Wizards continued their hot shooting into the third going up 88-65 before Boston finally made a run. Brad Stevens electing to go with his second unit to do the dirty work, as the C's went on a 11-0 run to end the quarter. Washington still led 102-88 before they went on a scoring drought for 4:39. Great defense and clutch shots by Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk and Brandon Bass (19 points) down the stretch in regulation gave the Celtics a chance to possibly take the lead.

Photo: Getty Images
Boston still trailed 110-107 with 16 seconds left. After a missed 3-ball by Olynyk was kept alive by Jeff Green, Evan Turner took the opportunity to hit a 3-pointer with only 0.5 remaining to force overtime. The Wizards looked tired as the Celtics opened up the first extra five minutes with back-to-back shots from behind the arc and were up seven before Pierce, in classic fashion tied the game at 121 on a 3-ball dagger with 39 seconds left. Neither team could score in the final 10 seconds.

In the second overtime the Celtics once again jumped ahead by seven, before Olynyk fouled out. John Wall took over the final two and half minutes to pull the Wizards within two. Smart missed a 3-pointer coming out of a timeout that led to a three-point play for Bradley Beal that put Washington up for good 133-132. Turner had a chance to win the game for Boston but missed a 20-foot jumper with 0.9 seconds left.

"I got the shot I wanted. I work on that shot every single day in practice," said Turner. "It felt good I just missed."

Despite the Celtics' bench scoring 82 points (a franchise record) and grabbing 30 rebounds to 27 points and 11 rebounds from the Wizards' reserves, there were a few questionable coaching decisions that decided the outcome of this game. Once Brad Stevens elected to go small at end of the second OT it opened the lane up for Wall to dissect the C's defense in the paint and get to the free-throw line as well.

"Those transition baskets killed us, both overtimes," said Stevens. "John Wall killed us in transition."

Boston, now 7-12, will have a shot of getting back on the winning track when they meet the the 5-15 Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night. Tip-off is at 7:30.

Games Notes:

Rajon Rondo played 21 minutes of last night's game going scoreless with only four assists and three turnovers. He was not the only starter who played less than their normal time, but the Celtics captain remained supportive of his teammates.

"I'm very competitive. I wanted to play. I wanted to compete and be on the floor," he said. "But the guys in front of me, the guys were out there were playing great, and I don't want to mess up any momentum.

Former Celtics captain Paul Pierce is at 25,300 career points after passing Reggie Miller (25,279) for 16th place on the NBA's career scoring list. Next up is Alex English at 15th (25,613) and our old friend Kevin Garnett at 14th with 25,740.

Joel Pavón

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