Celtics

Celtics fall behind early, lose to Wizards, 118-93

Celtics fall behind early, lose to Wizards, 118-93

It was hard to imagine the Boston Celtics would get off to a worse start than the one we saw on Sunday against Denver. 

And then they returned the floor and unfortunately for the Celtics, picked up where they left off by digging themselves an early hole and never recovering against the Washington Wizards who went going away, 118-93.

WIZARDS 118, CELTICS 93:

The Celtics (3-4) have now lost three straight and fall below .500 for the first time since ... last year when they began the season with a 3-4 record. 

And while they struggled during stretches in all four quarters, it was their feeble play in the first that ultimately sealed their fate. 

Washington (2-5), losers in five of their first six games, had a decisive 34-8 lead after the first. 

According to NBA statistics guru Dick Lipe, the 26-point deficit was the largest faced by the Celtics in franchise history after one quarter of play. And on top of that, the eight points scored by Boston in the first quarter was the second-fewest points scored in the first quarter by the Celtics. 

It was yet another dismal performance by the Celtics defensively with too many Celtics showing little fight on so many levels defensively. 

And it added up to a struggling Wizards team enjoying the best game of their still-young season. 

Otto Porter Jr.  was especially impressive as he had a double-double of 34 points and 14 rebounds. The 34 points were a career high for Porter, and was the second straight game the Celtics allowed a player to score 30 or more points against them. 

On Sunday, Denver’s Emmanuel Mudiay had a career high-tying 30 points. He was especially impactful in the first quarter when he had 13 points in just seven minutes of court time. 

Following Washington’s first quarter dominance, Boston could not get any closer than 15 afterwards, but for the most part spent the game facing a deficit that hovered around 20 points. 

Not only did Boston have trouble executing the basics defensively like keeping their man in front of them, the Celtics continued to struggle mightily when it came to limiting second-chance opportunities. 

Washington absolutely crushed the Celtics on the offensive glass which paved the way for a dominant 33-10 advantage on second-chance points. 

Isaiah Thomas had a double-double for Boston with 23 points and 10 assists. The Celtics also got a solid performance from Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart who had 21 and 20 points, respectively.

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Podcast: Kyrie Irving discusses why he has not committed to the Celtics long term

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NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Podcast: Kyrie Irving discusses why he has not committed to the Celtics long term

1:00 - Kyrie Irving talked with Jackie MacMullan and discussed everything from how his knee feels to why he hasn’t committed to Boston long term, Our Early Edition crew discusses what he had to say.

7:50 - Marc Bertrand and Phil Perry break down the Patriots-Lions match up on Sunday, and debate whether the Lions have any shot of doing what the Jaguars did to the Patriots.

14:30 - Steve Buckley joins BST to discuss Chris Sale’s performance against the Indians.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Kyrie Irving's comments suggest he's happy in Boston

Kyrie Irving's comments suggest he's happy in Boston

In a sit-down interview with Jackie MacMullan on ESPN.com, Kyrie Irving touched on a variety of subjects, primarily his optimism for the next few years, his health, beating the Golden State Warriors monolith, and those persitent rumors connecting him and Jimmy Butler to the New York Knicks.

Asked by MacMullan if he'd be disappointed if the Celtics didn't come away with a championship in 2019, Irving got right to brass tacks: "Can we beat Golden State in a seven-game series? Yes.''

And why so declarative?

"Because of who we have,'' Irving told MacMullan, "and what we're establishing here, not just for this season, but for hopefully for the next few years, something that's pretty special."

For his part, the five-time NBA All-Star and former NBA champ told MacMullan he's aware of the rumors of a shared interest between him and the disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves star of joining forces in New York, but that he hasn't talked with Butler at length since they were playing for USA Basketball in 2016.

"Who wouldn't be a part of this?" Irving told MacMullan, alluding to the Celtics' gleaming new practice facility in Brighton. "Who wouldn't want to be a part of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum and Al Horford and Gordon Hayward? People keep saying, 'Why won't he commit to Boston?'

"Well, there are financial implications involved.''

Irving hasn't signed an extension, and could be in for a substantial payday in the summer of 2019 if all goes well. Irving says he's fine with the seemingly round-the-clock speculation about his future, saying, "I'm accepting it's going to be a constant story."

There's more good stuff to unpack that should get Celtics fans excited about the 2018-19 season. For one, he believes he's been the healthiest and strongest he's been in three years, and says he has a confidence in his lower body now that was absent in the 2017-18 season, as knee issues flared up again in the spring that shut him down for the playoffs.

For another, Irving doesn't appear to be afraid of the defending champion Warriors, who got even stronger this offseason with the surprising clearance-rack addition of DeMarcus Cousins, saying, "I've seen them up close. I've played them so many times. We've gone in a seven-game series [when I was in Cleveland], so I know what it takes."

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE