Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Wizards 130, Celtics 111: Short-handed Washington roster upsets C's on the road

The Celtics fell to the Washington Wizards 130-111 to snap a three-game win streak Tuesday night at Capital One Arena.

Jayson Tatum returned from sitting out against the San Antonio Spurs to finish with 28 points, nine rebounds and five assists, while the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week award winner Jaylen Brown added 18 points on 9-of-19 shooting.

Marcus Smart had 14 points, five assists and Malcolm Brogdon chipped in 13 points off the bench for the Celtics, who fell to 52-24 on the season and are now 2.5 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the best record in the East -- and have to face next.
"Bounce back from this game," Jayson Tatum said in his postgame presser when asked about Boston's upcoming showdown. "I think that's the most important. We got to respond. And I feel like we will play better. We'll come out with more pop. We'll come out with more energy. More focus. Just learning from this game [and] not carrying it on. Move on to the next one."
Meanwhile, Washington -- who was playing without Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma and Daniel Gafford -- was led by Kristaps Porzingis' 32 points (14-of-32 from the field), 13 rebounds and six assists. Deni Avdija also recorded a double-double of 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists while Monte Morris added 19 points, nine assists for the 34-42 Wizards -- that are now 2.5 games back of the Chicago Bulls for the final play-in spot.

Boston essentially played from behind wire-to-wire in this one, trailing 64-51 at the break, before the Wizards used a 18-9 run to start the third quarter to increase the deficit to 21 points with 6:52 remaining in the period.

Washington took a 99-78 lead into the final frame, as Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla pulled his starters with 9:21 left to play and down 107-85.

The Wizards had a 19-11 advantage on fast break points, while also forcing 12 Boston turnovers. With six games left and a impending matchup with the East leading Bucks (54-21) Thursday night on the road, the Celtics don't seemed concerned as the season tie-breaker is on the line.
"I don't think anybody worries about where they place," Marcus Smart said in his postgame comments. "The playoffs is what matters. You still got to go out there and play and win. So, wherever we place, that's where we'll be at, and we'll deal with it."
The Celtics head to Milwaukee on the first night of a back-to-back, as tip-off will be on TNT at 7:30 ET.

Game Notes:

Boston was 48.4% from the field, including 11-of-44 (25%) from 3-point range, while the Wizards were 54.5% from the floor and 13-of-37 (35.1%) from behind the arc. The Celtics were out-rebounded 43-38, but did win the points in the paint battle 64-62. The C's handed out 29 assists on 45 baskets to the Wizards' 33 dimes (11 turnovers) on 54 made shots.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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