Washington Wizards

Wizards' Wall on NBA East contenders: 'I feel like we're all equal'

Wizards' Wall on NBA East contenders: 'I feel like we're all equal'

Wizards guard John Wall told Yahoo Sports that his team might be overlooked when talking about the NBA's Eastern Conference contenders. 

“Everybody is going to put Boston No. 1, because that’s what you’re supposed to," Wall said. "They had a hell of a season with those guys coming back. You’ve got Philly, they got their pieces. I feel like those top four, those top five — you can’t forget Milwaukee, what they have with Giannis [Antetokounmpo] — I feel like it’s all cluttered. I put us right there.”

Wall said even the Celtics, favored in Vegas to reach the NBA Finals, have question marks. 

“On paper, everybody looks great,” Wall said “We look great. Boston looks great on paper. But how are all those young guys going to mesh with Kyrie [Irving] being back? Or Gordon Hayward being back? Nobody knows how that’s going to work. Now, they’ve got a hell of a coach in Brad Stevens, and [with GM and president] Danny Ainge, they’re going to figure it out. But you still got to put it all together. You’ve still got to make it work on the court. We don’t know how Kawhi is going to work. We know what Simmons and Embiid are going to give you, but it’s a new year.

“I feel like we’re all equal,” Wall said. “None of them won a championship. This is no knock on no other team. Don’t get me wrong. Boston is a hell of a team. Philly has great young talent with those guys [Joel] Embiid, [Ben] Simmons. And Toronto, losing DeMar [DeRozan], they still get Kawhi [Leonard]. Y’all might have been to the Eastern Conference finals, where we haven’t been to, but none of y’all were going to the Finals. It was one guy going to the Finals. Ain’t nobody separated from nothing. I know one guy that separated himself from the Eastern Conference every year and that was LeBron James and the Cavs. Other than that … if you lose in the second round, or the conference finals, you still didn’t get to your ultimate goal."

Wall's Wizards took a step back last season after reaching the Eastern Conference semifinals and losing to the Celtics in seven games in 2017. Last season, Wall missed 41 games with a knee injury and Washington was knocked out of the first round of the playoffs by the Toronto Raptors.

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'Effort wasn't there' for Celtics in loss to Wizards

'Effort wasn't there' for Celtics in loss to Wizards

The Boston Celtics offense is going to be challenged in the playoffs, regardless of the opponent. 

And defensively, they’re sure to have some ups and downs as well. 

But what really stood out in Boston’s loss to the Wizards was what seemed like an overall effort lacking what we’ve seen most nights from the Celtics. 

During Brad Stevens’ postgame press conference, he made multiple references to the Celtics’ effort and compete level not being where it should be.

“We didn’t have a tremendous effort on our part at either end,” Stevens said. “Our offense is going to be what it is. You’re gonna have moments where you score, where you don’t score, where you’re feeling good, where you’re not, whatever. Defensively, we can’t be a sieve either.”

Boston’s Terry Rozier said the team’s effort was the most disappointing part of Tuesday’s loss, their fourth in the last five games. 

“We knew how important this game is, finish up our last two games going into the playoffs,” Rozier told reporters after the loss. “The effort wasn’t there.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 113-101 loss at Washington. 

 

STARS

John Wall: The Celtics never really had him under control at any point on Tuesday which paved the way for a potential triple-double as Wall finished with 29 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. 

Jaylen Brown: From the outset, Brown was seemingly up to the challenge of carrying the team. He led Boston with 27 points on 8-for-18 shooting from the field. 

 

STUDS

Bradley Beal: This was not one of Bradley Beal’s better games, but he made enough plays when it mattered. He had 19 points on 6-for-16 shooting. 

 

DUDS

Terry Rozier: Tuesday night was yet another rough outing for Rozier, tallying just eight points on 2-for-12 shooting from the field. 

Marcus Morris: Morris has become a reliable scorer for the Celtics of late, and the Celtics will need more of the same to have a legit shot at advancing through the playoffs. Against the Wizards, he was just 2-for-10 shooting as he finished with six points.

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Brown drops 27, but Celtics fall to Wizards, 113-101

Brown drops 27, but Celtics fall to Wizards, 113-101

BOSTON – One of the big concerns about the Boston Celtics heading into the playoffs has to do with scoring; specifically, where will the points come from now that Kyrie Irving is gone for the season. 

If Celtics fans weren’t concerned before, they should be now after Boston’s second-half collapse offensively against the Wizards whose second half surge propelled Washington to a 113-101 win. 

Jaylen Brown led Boston with 27 points – 20 in the first quarter – while the Wizards were led by John Wall who had a double-double of 29 points and 11 assists along with seven rebounds.

With the win, Washington (43-38) remains very much alive as a potential first-round opponent of Celtics (54-27). 

And as we saw on Tuesday, Washington would be a tough playoff opponent for a Boston team that will be significantly undermanned in its first-round playoff series. 

But the Celtics came out strong, looking very much like a team looking to put the Wizards away early.

Boston opened the game looking for the 3-ball, with Brown leading the way. 

The second-year wing delivered a first-rate performance in the first quarter, scoring almost as many points (20) as the entire Washington team which trailed Boston 30-22 after the first quarter. 

Washington played a much better brand of basketball in the second quarter as they gradually chipped away at Boston’s lead and eventually took a brief 40-39 lead following a 3-pointer by Wall. 

But Boston bounced back with an 8-0 run only for the Wizards to chip away at the Celtics’ lead which stood at 54-52 at the half.

Washington, fueled by Wall, began to play with the promise that had many believing they would be one of the top teams in the East this season. 

Instead, they spent Tuesday night trying to avoid a fifth-straight loss that would have locked them into being the eighth seed. 

Washington spent most of the third playing ahead before eventually taking a 79-72 lead into the fourth.

And as the fourth quarter rolled around, Boston could not put together enough stops or knock down enough shots to mount any kind of comeback. 

Boston’s defense wasn’t great, but overall they did enough to be competitive. But Boston’s poor shooting doomed their chances at success. 

And with no Irving (left knee surgery) coming through the door anytime soon for Boston, the Celtics lost more than a game on Tuesday. 

They may have moved the needle closer to facing the Wizards in the first round, a matchup that of all the potential first-round foes (Miami and Milwaukee are the other possible opponents) may prove to be the most daunting.

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