WASHINGTON – There are certain lessons that no matter how much they’re talked about, have to be experienced first-hand in order to fully appreciate them.
The Boston Celtics know they are a marked team, the standard that most teams in the East measure themselves against.
With that comes responsibility and added pressure, the kind of pressure that if not handled properly can result in 20-point beatdowns like the one they got in Toronto earlier this week.
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But when handled with the right amount of focus and attention to detail, you find a way to win games like Thursday’s 110-104 overtime win against Washington, a game in which the Celtics played well enough to win.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens acknowledged he was disappointed in how Boston closed out the fourth quarter (Boston had a double-digit lead with 5:23 to play).
"But I thought for the most part we were pretty locked-in all night,” Stevens said.
They have to be in order to survive the seemingly never-ending challenges that await them from teams focused on knocking them off their perch atop the Eastern Conference standings.
“Every team is coming,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “They look at the East and think it’s wide open, and rightfully so. Everyone is coming with their best; everyone talks about the Celtics and we’re the number one team in the East, and we’ve been number one for a while now.
Brown added, “There are teams on our heels and we know that, so every game we need to come out and bring the same energy because every night is like a Super Bowl. We can’t take nights off."
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 110-104 overtime win at Washington.
Kyrie Irving: Big free throws in the fourth quarter to force overtime was just part of a strong performance by Irving. He led all scorers with 28 points along with six rebounds and six assists.
Otto Porter Jr.: He was a problem for the Boston Celtics in the playoffs last season, and he continues to be a player Boston struggles to match up against effectively. He led all Wizards scorers with 27 points on 9-for-18 shooting to go with 11 rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Jaylen Brown: His defense on Bradley Beal was impressive, in addition to playing a strong game offensively which included scoring five of Boston’s last seven points in overtime. Brown had 18 points to go with four rebounds and three assists.
Bradley Beal: This was not one of his better games, but Beal’s ability to score is impressive. He had 18 points, shooting just 7-for-27 from the field to get it.
Daniel Theis: The numbers don’t do justice to the impact Theis had on the game for Boston. He had seven points and six rebounds, but more telling was how he wound up playing 28 minutes.
Greg Monroe: Making his Celtics debut mere hours after officially signing with the club, Monroe came off the bench and played 20 minutes, tallying five points on 2-for-5 shooting to go with six rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Celtics composure: There were a total of four technical fouls called, three of which went against the Boston Celtics. In a game that came down to the wire in regulation and went to overtime, the +2 points for the Wizards via technical foul calls against Boston loomed large and would have stood out even more if the Celtics didn’t get the win in overtime.
Wizards turnovers: Boston’s defense was instrumental in the Wizards turning the ball over 22 times.