What could be the worst thing for the Wizards, coming off an emotional high to beat the San Antonio Spurs earlier in the week? Being blown out by the struggling Boston Celtics on Friday, which is exactly what happened 118-98 at TD Garden.
The Wizards (3-2) jumped out to a 10-5 lead to start but it quickly went downhill after the Celtics shot 17-for-26 in the first quarter for a season-high 40 points. A team that has trouble scoring, the Celtics (2-3) averaged 19 points per game in the opening stanza for the season and led by as many as 30.
Seven first-quarter turnovers contributed to the Wizards' downfall, three coming from John Wall, as they had trouble defending long before they could blame being winded by their own fast-paced offense. The Celtics played with more energy from start to finish, led by Jared Sullinger with 21 points, Kelly Olynyk's 19, 16 from Evan Turner and Isaiah Thomas and 12 by Jae Crowder.
Bradley Beal had his fifth consecutive game with 24 or more points to lead the Wizards, scoring a game-high 24, followed by Wall with 13 and Marcin Gortat's 10.
The bench for the Wizards, minus Drew Gooden who was a late scratch because of back spasms, was listless. It had just 13 points after three quarters and half of their total turnovers for the game with 12. Kelly Oubre made his first field goal in a regular-season game as a pro off a lob from Wall.
- The ball movement was absent with far too much dribbling. Jared Dudley had two turnovers as soon as he came in from passing up open looks, putting the ball on the floor and moving the ball too late in the shot clock as the Celtics overplayed passing lanes for breakaway buckets. Kris Humphries, who has had that problem in recent games, was much sharper. He took the looks he had on first glance and made 3 of 4 three-pointers.
- When a team like Boston uses a spread five like Sullinger vs. Gortat or Nene, Wizards will continue to have matchup problems. Sullinger and Olynyk took advantage of the Wizards' bigs being late to get out to the arc to challenge. They combined to shoot 6-for-9 from three-point range.
- Despite having numbers repeatedly because of the Celtics' bigs staying on the perimeter still got outrebounded. Jonas Jerebko got to a missed three by Olynyk late in the third quarter over Otto Porter and Dudley. In the first quarter, when they started to pull away, Olynyk snagged an offensive rebound between four defenders for the putback and a 27-18 lead.
- Wall was flat and unsure of himself with his shot. On two occasions, he rebounded his own miss and had a second look uncontested in the lane. He hesitated both times. The first was an airball and the second grazed the front of the rim. And he had a season-high eight turnovers. Wall tweeted after the game:
Gotta be a better leader and play better for us to win...#WizSquad !!
— John Wall (@JohnWall) November 7, 2015
- With this being the first game of a back-to-back, emptying the bench is a good idea with Oubre getting his first real action (seven points). The battle with Boston was lost and there's no need for heavy minutes from anyone (Beal played the most, 31). A win Saturday at the Atlanta Hawks, who eliminated the Wizards in six games of the conference semifinals, can make for some of what took place with this fiasco. If the Wizards get blown out again, however, their problems multiply with the Oklahoma City Thunder coming to town in a few days.