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Wizards edge Celtics in double overtime after 20-point comeback

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Wizards edge Celtics in double overtime after 20-point comeback

The Washington Wizards beat the Boston Celtics 125-124 in double overtime on Wednesday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Crazy game: Nothing has come easy for the Washington Wizards in recent weeks and Wednesday night was no exception. It took a 20-point comeback, but the Wizards snatched a win away from the Celtics in double overtime.

Boston was missing nearly their entire regular rotation including Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford, yet they built a sizable first half lead and nearly held off the Wizards. Washington had other ideas and earned a much-needed victory after losing five of their previous seven.

Jodie Meeks of all people hit the big shot to force the first extra period. Meeks has had a frustrating season with his shot not falling for months to begin the year. It was so bad he was looking for a trade back in February.

On Wednesday, he had his best moment of the season. Otto Porter (18 points, 11 rebounds) drove to the rim and found Meeks for a corner three.

Meeks was understandably pumped after it went in:

The Wizards snapped a two game losing streak and moved to 39-30 on the season with 13 games left on the schedule. They are 13-8 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury.

Beal took off: The tide was already turning for the Wizards late in the first half. In the third quarter, Bradley Beal added some gasoline to the fire.

Beal erupted for 16 points in the frame on 10 shots. He found his groove and once he did there wasn't much Boston could to do contain him.

Beal feasted on mismatches off screens, at one point zipping past Aron Baynes for an up-and-under layup. On another play he turned Greg Monroe around on a stepback and dropped in a swish from about 20 feet out.

Beal was the only All-Star on the court between the teams and he sure looked like it at times. He finished with a game-high 34 points, nine assists, seven rebounds, two steals and a block. It was a masterpiece performance.

The only problem for Beal was his four turnovers. Giveaways have been an issue for him at times recently, but in his defense he is the primary focus of opposing defenses. They are trying to force the ball out of his hands and turnovers have often been the result.

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Horrible start: The Wizards dug themselves quite the hole in this one. Despite facing a Celtics team missing nearly their entire rotation, the Wizards came out sluggish and found themselves down 19-6 just a few minutes in. They trailed by as many as 20 points in the first half.

Again it was points in the paint that were an issue. The Wizards allowed 60-plus point paints in their last four games and gave up 18 in the first quarter in Boston, the same amount they allowed in the first frame against the Timberwolves the night before.

Jayson Tatum (19 points) was a big reason for that. He was blowing by the Wizards' perimeter defense and finishing well above the rim. That was all despite battling back tightness, an injury that almost kept him out of the game.

Tatum's production was expected, but there were plenty of surpriseds from the Celtics early. Monroe, for instance, had eight points (4-for-4 FG), seven rebounds, a steal and a block in 12 minutes by halftime. He ended up with 16 points and 10 boards.

It took the Wizards a while, but they woke up. By halftime they were only down seven points as Markieff Morris (20 points, seven rebounds) got hot to lead a 10-0 run.

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Bench boost: The Wizards wouldn't have had a chance in this game if it weren't for their bench, who gave them a lift at times when their starters were lagging. Ian Mahinmi (14 points, 11 rebounds), Meeks (eight points), Mike Scott (nine points) and Kelly Oubre, Jr. (eight points, two steals) were the standouts.

Scott and Oubre did most of their damage in the first half. Meeks got hot in the second half. Mahinmi was great for most of the game.

Mahinmi followed up a big game of 10 points and nine rebounds against Minnesota with his strong night against the Celtics. Mahimmi's 11 rebounds were a season-high.

This was, in fact, the first double-double for Mahinmi since he signed a four-year, $64 million free agent deal with the Wizards in the summer of 2016.  It was arguably his best game in a Wizards uniform.

It's also worth noting that Mahinmi didn't play at all two games ago against the Heat. He has rebounded impressively with two strong games. 

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Up next: The Wizards are off the next two days before hosting the Indiana Pacers in a big game on Saturday night. That will determine the season series and therefore the playoff seeding tiebreaker between the teams. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. Pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Wizards HangTime.

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Bradley Beal's phantom foul and the Wizards' most important rally of the season

Bradley Beal's phantom foul and the Wizards' most important rally of the season

After calling an inconsistent game throughout the night, the referees made a decision with five minutes to go in Game 4 that nearly altered the entire series between the Wizards and Raptors.

DeMar DeRozan was chasing a rebound on the baseline and ran into Bradley Beal. Beal, who had a team-high 31 points, was levied a sixth and final foul with the score tied. 

Beal had unloaded for 20 points in 12 minutes in the second half, but now the Wizards would have to close it out without their All-Star shooting guard. Somehow, they were able to seal the win and tie the series.

Beal heard the whistle as he laid on the ground. He immediately hopped up and unleashed a tantrum that nobody could blame him for.

He jumped up and down, screaming at the referees, who had just called by all accounts a questionable foul and in a key moment of a playoff game.

Both Beal and head coach Scott Brooks were incensed and with good reason.

“I was beyond emotional, beyond mad, frustrated," Beal said. "I honestly thought they were going to kick me out of the game I was so mad, but I was happy they didn’t do that."

Beal is probably lucky the referees didn't take offense to his reaction because it continued when he was on the bench. He walked past his teammates and leaned over with his hands on his knees, still furious. Then he returned to the sideline to yell at the refs. Center Ian Mahinmi helped convince him to step back and cool off.

Beal has made a major difference in this series. He averaged 14.0 points in the first two games, both losses. He has averaged 29.5 points in Games 3 and 4, two Wizards wins.

Getting him out of the game was a major break for the Raptors, but they couldn't take advantage. The Wizards closed the final five minutes on a 14-6 tear. John Wall stepped up to lead the charge with eight of those points.

The Wizards still had one star on the court and he played like one.

“Just go in attack mode," Wall said. "When Brad went out, I knew I had to do whatever it took... I just wanted to do whatever, so that we could advance to Game 5, tied 2-2.”

Once Beal composed himself, his confidence grew in his teammates. He and Wall feel comfortable playing without each other because they have done so often throughout their careers.

This year, Wall missed 41 games due to a left knee injury. Two years ago, Beal missed 27 games. Early on in his career, he had trouble staying healthy. Now he is an iron man who played in all 82 games during the 2017-18 regular season.

Beal has grown accustomed to being on the floor a lot, but he realized he can still affect the game from the sidelines.

"I just gathered my emotions, gathered my thoughts and told my team we were going to win, regardless. I knew if we still had John [Wall] in the game I loved our chances," Beal said. "Face the adversity that I had to overcome, just gather myself and be a leader, being vocal and keeping everyone encouraged in the game.”

Wall and others did the heavy lifting in the end. The Wizards used Kelly Oubre, Jr. as the shooting guard with Beal out and he made key plays down the stretch, including a steal on Kyle Lowry in the closing seconds.

The Wizards were thrown a significant curveball and they overcame it to put themselves in good position now having won two straight.

“You have to have resolve to win in this league," Brooks said. "You win playoff games and you win playoff series with having that. We have that, and we have to continue to have that because we have to win two more games and one of them has to be on the road."

When it comes to the officiating, the Wizards deserve credit for their resilience and restraint early in Game 4. The Raptors had 16 free throws in the first quarter compared to the Wizards' four. Washington perservered and ended up with more free throws (31) than the Raptors (30) did for the game.

In Game 1, the Wizards appeared to be affected by a lack of foul calls. That game was called loosely by the referees, while this one was officiated tightly. Though Beal went off, the Wizards for the most part stayed the course and were rewarded for it.

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The Wizards supplied all the highlights and fireworks; 5 must-see moments from Game 4

The Wizards supplied all the highlights and fireworks; 5 must-see moments from Game 4

WASHINGTON -- As the home team in a dire situation you have to take advantage, and that is exactly what the Washington Wizards did in their 106-98 win over the Toronto Raptors.

Highlight reel play after highlight reel play, the Wizards ignited the crowd with some of their best plays from the entire season to make it 2-2 in the series. Here are just a few of them:

1. John Wall collects posters in the first half

The first one was perhaps the best. Everything was going wrong for the Wizards, poor turnovers, bad shots, a three from Toronto. Then John Wall had enough. Not only did he fly past his defender Kyle Lowry, but he went up and slammed one home past the 7-foot Jonas Valanciunas. Up until that point, the Wizards were shooting 1-for-7.

Rinse and repeat, except this time Jakob Poeltl was Wall’s victim.

2. Wall to Beal alley-oop in transition

With the Wizards’ offense faltering, the Raptors remained on the verge of blowing the game open throughout the second quarter. But with a steal from Otto Porter Jr., Wall hung up the ball for Bradley Beal to slam home. The alley-oop kept the Wizards within single digits in the second with an uninspiring offensive effort.

3. Otto Porter breaks out of the half

A subdued offensive start to the game was due in part to the production from Porter. In the first half he went 0-for-4 with one point in nearly 17 minutes of action.

Throw that away in the second half. He broke out of halftime with back-to-back threes and 10 of the Wizards’ 26 in a monster 26-14 run to take the lead back in the third.

He finished the quarter with 10 points, an assist, and two blocks.

4. The Polish Hammer throwing it home

Are you convinced yet that Marcin Gortat’s new haircut is doing him some good? Gortat squeezed through two Raptors’ defenders, threw it down, gave a Goliath-type roar to the crowd before officially bringing the hammer down. 

5. Beal being called for his sixth foul of the game

Agree with the call or not, there is no denying that Beal’s removal from the game lit a fire underneath the Wizards. From that point Washington went on a 14-6 scoring run to end the game, closing out for the win.

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