Big second quarter propels Celtics to 110-102 win over Wizards

Big second quarter propels Celtics to 110-102 win over Wizards

BOSTON –  Patrolling the section behind the stanchion closest to the Boston Celtics, was a fan donning a Grim Reaper outfit.

After Washington’s all-black, funeral procession-like attire when these two met in last, the Celtics – and their fans of course – were looking to see Boston bury the Washington Wizards.

Did they ever.

The Celtics broke the game open in the second quarter and never looked back in defeating the Wizards 110-102.


With the win, Boston (45-26) has evened the head-to-head series two games apiece while increasing their lead over Washington (42-28) to 2.5 games for the No. 2 seed in the East.

Although the season series is now tied up, Boston would likely win out if the two were to finish in a tie if they can maintain a better conference record (29-13) which they currently have over the Wizards (26-18).

Boston led by as many as 20 points before the Wizards began to chip away at Boston’s control in the fourth quarter and came within six points (106-100).

The Celtics were in need of an offensive spark so they turned to – who else? – Isaiah Thomas.

Returning to the Celtics’ lineup after missing the two previous games with a knee injury, drained a jumper to make it a 102-91 game and would finish with 25 points.

Following a Washington turnover, Avery Bradley’s lay-up was rebounded by Al Horford who jammed it home to put Boston up 104-91 with 4:36 to play.

Horford, coming off a season-high 27 points against Philadelphia on Sunday, had a solid all-around game with 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists.

Boston also got a strong game from two-way standout Avery Bradley who had 20 points on 8-for-16 shooting with nine rebounds and four assists.

Washington, losers in four of its last five games, were led by Bradley Beal’s 19 points with John Wall chipping in with 16.

The Celtics didn’t really assert control of the game until the second quarter.

And while it didn’t seem like that big a deal at the time, a dust-up involving Terry Rozier, Brandon Jennings and Kelly Oubre Jr. seemed to light a spark on Boston that began the process of snuffing out any hopes Boston had of leaving Boston with a victory.

It led to a video review which determined that double techs were in order for Rozier and Oubre Jr., and a foul against Jennings.

At the time of the incident, the score was tied at 37.

The Celtics scored the next six points which included a long 2-pointer by Thomas (the tip of his toe was on the 3-point line) that led to a Wizards time-out with 6:19 to play in the half.

Boston continued to surge ahead with their lead peaking at 11 points (53-42) following a pair of free throws by Thomas who was back in the lineup after missing two games with a knee bruise.

The control Boston displayed in the second quarter was in stark contrast to how the game was played in the first quarter which featured strong runs by both teams.

First there was the Wizards breaking open an 8-all tie with an 11-4 surge leading to a Celtics time-out with 6:19 to play.

Boston came out of the time-out playing a different, more effective brand of basketball resulting in 10 straight points that put them ahead 22-19.

The rest of the quarter was a tightly played contested that ended with Boston ahead 30-28 following a put-back basket by Bradley.

Gordon Hayward rips back a morning workout while repping his Butler Bulldogs

File Photo

Gordon Hayward rips back a morning workout while repping his Butler Bulldogs

There hasn't been all positive news surrounding Gordon Hayward as of late.

The Celtics have been shooting down rumors of Hayward returning this season. Recent news has detailed a minor setback in his recovery.

But it's always good to see the C's superstar up early crushing a workout in the weightroom.

We might not see him back in 2018, but his dedication during recovery is something to admire.


Celtics look to continue rolling on the road

AP Photo

Celtics look to continue rolling on the road

It seems all season we’ve talked about the Boston Celtics overcoming adversity, whether it be a bad injury to a key player or a blown assignment leading to a loss.

Nowhere is this more apparent than their play on the road this season which ranks among the best in the NBA.

The Celtics will look to continue on their road warrior-like ways tonight at New Orleans, a team that’s fighting for playoff position in the tighter-than-usual Western Conference.

In recent years, the terrain has been rough for teams from the East venturing into Western Conference territory.

For this year’s Celtics?

Not so much.

Boston comes into tonight’s game with a 17-7 record against Western Conference teams, tops among all teams in the East.

And while Boston has eight road games left this season, they are on pace to finish with one of the best road records in franchise history.

Currently 24-9 away from the TD Garden (tops in the East, third overall in the NBA), that’s a winning percentage of .727 which is the fourth-highest in franchise history.

Here are five under-the-radar story lines to keep an eye on when the Boston Celtics take on the New Orleans Pelicans tonight.


It’s a given that Al Horford will spend time defending Anthony Davis tonight. And while Davis will likely have a strong night scoring the ball, you can count on Horford making it extremely tough on him. When the two teams met on Jan. 16, Davis was 8-for-19 shooting for 16 points in 52 possessions when defended by Horford. For the game, Davis had 45 points on 16-for-34 shooting.


We’ve seen “Playoff" Rondo and “National TV" Rondo deliver some impressive performances in the past. What will we see from “Well-Rested” Rondo? The Pelicans gave the ex-Celtic the night off on Saturday as to not play him in back-to-back games. Of the two games, it made sense to sit him against the Rockets and have him ready to roll against a Boston Celtics team that will not have its full complement of players available.


Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry had some choice words about the officiating in New Orleans’ 107-101 loss to Houston on Saturday that he clearly felt cost his team a better chance at winning. The only cost in play now is how big will the check be that he’ll pay the league for his comments about the officiating. His issue was that Anthony Davis doesn’t get enough calls based on the physical abuse he takes per game. Davis ranks fourth in the NBA in free throw attempts (7.8) per game, but only had four attempts against the Rockets. It’ll be worth watching whether the Pelicans, 16th in the league in free throw attempts (21.4) per game, will get to the line significantly more or less than their season average.


One of the keys to Boston’s improved play since returning to the floor since the all-star break, has been their ability to begin games with strong play. Boston has outscored their opponent in the first quarter each of the last eight games, and 10 of 11. In addition, Boston has been ahead at the half in each of their 10 games since the all-star break, which comes on the heels of trailing at the half in the seven games prior to the break.


Jayson Tatum has been one of the most impactful rookies in the NBA this season which will likely land him a spot on the NBA’s all-rookie first or second team. One of the strengths of Tatum has been his durability, evident by him being one of just two first-year players to appear in each of his team’s games played this season. He is joined by Memphis’ Dillon Brooks.