The Wizards had a chance to officially turn the corner with Saturday's game against the Boston Celtics, but they faltered late in a game they controlled most of the way and lost to them for the third time this season and failed to get over .500.
John Wall (season-high 36 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds seven steals) led all scorers as all of Washington's starters reached double-figures. Marcin Gortat (18 points, 11 rebounds), Jared Dudley (15 points, seven rebounds), Garrett Temple (12 points), Kelly Oubre (10 points, six rebounds) and Gary Neal (10 points).
In two meetings in Boston in November, the Celtics blitzed them 118-98 and 111-78. On Saturday, the Wizards (19-20) blew out the Indiana Pacers 118-104 after they'd been embarrassed at home by them in November but came up short in this one after they tied the score at 117 on a pair of foul shots from Temple.
Isaiah Thomas, who made two foul shots with 21 seconds left, led the Celtics (22-19) with 32 points but Jae Crowder (22 points) had the game-winner on a layup on an inbounds play.
Wall was able to get up the court and have a layup but it trickled off the rim and Nene's putback dunk to force overtime was too late.
- It's amazing how ball security makes everything better, or the lack of it causes the wheels to fall off. When the Wizards lost in Boston on Nov. 6, they had 24 turnovers that led to 24 points and were outrebounded by the smaller team 53-45. In a Nov. 27 loss, the Wizards had 22 turnovers that produced 17 points and were outrebounded again 58-46 (19 offensive). They only had nine through three quarters Saturday but opened the fourth with five which allowed Boston to get back in it.
- At 3:31 of the first quarter, the Wizards went with Nene along with four guards -- Wall, Temple, Neal and Ramon Sessions. It produced as the Wizards extended the lead to 11. They're better off going smaller against the Celtics anyway because they force so many switches on bigs who can shoot from the arc. Not having Kris Humphries (knee) doesn't hurt against teams that go small like this. Not having Otto Porter (hip) hurts far more.
- Bradley Beal didn't play because this was the second game of a back-to-back. He has played 23 and 22 minutes coming off the bench since returning from a stress reaction in his lower right leg and this has been the plan all along. Nothing is wrong with his leg but given that he has had the same injury four consecutive seasons they're taking every precaution.
- Without Beal, Wall played a season-high 44 minutes. Going into the All-Star break, this is where the Wizards have to be careful so he doesn't develop any other ailments that could hinder their best player. Expect him to get a lot of practice time off while they deal with even more injuries to other players as they only had 10 active. Drew Gooden (left calf) had to sit this one out, too.
- If there's a better coach at drawing up lays after timeouts than Brad Stevens, who is it? He's a master at it. Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley got clean looks during crucial plays in the fourth quarter to give the Celtics breathing room. With the score 111-110, the Celtics were able to get Bradley opne for a three that looked like the dagger. After the Wizards tied it, the layup by Crowder came on an ATO as well, the ball lobbed over the top of Oubre who was fronting the post. The were expecting the play to go through Thomas. Crowder was the last option which is why there wasn't help on the backside for Oubre.
MORE WIZARDS: Morning tip: When Nene isn't hurt, he's special