The metaphorical images of a funeral procession by the Washington Wizards players, donning all-black attire to Tuesday’s game against Boston, seemed a bit overly dramatic and over the top.
But give them credit.
When it came time to play, the Wizards backed up all that bury-the-Boston Celtics chatter with the kind of performance that absolutely put the Celtics in a game-long ditch with the night ultimately ending with Washington handing Boston a wire-to-wire loss, 123-108.
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Boston (26-18) has now lost three in a row while the Wizards (25-20) extended their home winning streak to 14 in a row.
The build-up to Tuesday’s game was unlike your run-of-the-mill game in January.
Washington, still upset after their 117-108 loss at Boston on Jan. 11, took Tuesday’s game way more seriously than the Celtics with their all-black attire which was symbolic of their single-minded approach which centered around one thing – beating the Celtics.
And they did so the same way teams have found success of late against Boston.
Move the ball, set some screens and open shots will come your way against a defense which has been a huge disappointment this season.
Washington spent most of the game shooting better than 60 percent from the field, with their control of the game after the first quarter never being in doubt. They would finish shooting 57.8 percent from the field.
And when they weren’t knocking down jumpers, the Wizards were gathering their missed shots and putting them back in for easy baskets.
It was yet another reminder that the Boston Celtics’ have regressed defensively on so many levels.
Certainly not having Avery Bradley (right Achilles strain) available hurt the Celtics at both ends of the floor, especially when you consider how Boston struggled defending both John Wall and Bradley Beal who had 27 and 31 points, respectively.
The Celtics were led by Isaiah Thomas’ double-double of 25 points and 13 assists.
Boston cut Washington’s lead to 84-78 courtesy of some tough defensive plays by Marcus Smart.
But a 5-0 spurt with all the points scored by Wall, gave the Wizards a little bit more of a cushion as the third quarter came to a close.
And that spurt by Wall was fueled by a number of miscues by Boston’s young players like second-year guard Terry Rozier missing an open 3-pointer, second-year big man Jordan Mickey fumbling the ball leading to a turnover and third-year wing James Young missing a very makeable baseline jumper.
As much as Boston would love to dissect what went wrong, there’s no time for that. They return to the TD Garden to face MVP candidate James Harden and the Houston Rockets who have been in town for a couple days and will be well-rested for Wednesday night’s game.