The Washington Wizards lost to the Boston Celtics 130-125 in overtime on Wednesday night. Here are five observations from the game...
1. Tough loss: No matter the stakes, the location or the personnel, the Wizards and Celtics always seem to bring the best out of each other. On Wednesday, they went to overtime for the third time in their past four meetings.
John Wall and Kyrie Irving put in All-Star performances, but a series of clutch shots by Irving in the final period proved the difference in a Celtics win. On one, to put the Celtics ahead by two with under a minute to go, Irving swished a three with Wall all over him. Mostly, he dashed past defenders and finished with spin off the glass.
The Wizards lost their third straight game and fell to 11-17 on the season.
2. Wall was back: After missing one game due to bone spurs in his left heel, John Wall returned to the Wizards lineup. Though he took 26 shots and had five turnovers, he played well for the most part.
Wall ended up with 34 points, 13 assists, six rebounds, two steals and a block. He had 10 points in the fourth quarter alone.
The best part of Wall's night early on was his defense. He was more engaged and disciplined than usual. Though it's nearly impossible to stay in front of Irving, Wall did a solid job disrupting his path to the rim.
Wall's defense trailed off at times in the second half, but overall it was a solid return for the five-time All-Star. Though Irving scored a lot of points, he shot 12-for-28, and Wall did his part to limit him, at least until late.
This game had a major injury scare for Wall. After making a layup with just over two minutes remaining in overtime, he hit the floor and stayed there in obvious pain. Trainers rushed to his aid and checked out the back of his right leg. Somehow, he was able to return.
3. Horrible third quarter: The first half was among the most impressive the Wizards have played this season. Finally, they were putting together a complete performance on both ends of the floor. They didn't go down by 20, which has been customary even in many of their wins.
Things were going well through two quarters, but then the third quarter happened, and the Celtics essentially dominated for a 12-minute stretch. They outscored the Wizards 38-22 in the frame and shot 61.9 percent, knocking down 4-of-7 from three.
Boston forced the issue for the most part, but the Wizards made their share of mistakes to give them opportunities. They had seven turnovers in the third quarter with Bradley Beal (22 points, seven rebounds) accounting for three of them on his own.
The Wizards forced overtime by outdoing the Celtics by seven points in the fourth. It was the third time in four meetings these teams have gone an extra period.
4. Porter was out: Though Wall came back, the Wizards were without starting forward Otto Porter Jr. Porter missed his third game of the season, this time due to a right knee contusion which he suffered in Monday's loss to the Pacers.
Porter was close, but was ruled out after going through a pregame workout as a gametime decision. One member of the coaching staff remarked to NBC Sports Washington before the game he expected Porter to play, so clearly he was very close to giving it a go.
It would be surprising if he didn't play on Friday. It's just a really bad bruise.
5. Dekker played, Brown didn't: Though Sam Dekker was acquired just a few days ago in a trade, he appears to be ahead of Troy Brown Jr. on the depth chart. Porter's absence meant head coach Scott Brooks had to go deeper on his bench than usual, and it was Dekker who got the nod.
Brown was the team's first round pick in June, but at only 19 years old is being brought along very slowly. He is barely getting any floor time at all, while others in his draft class are playing rotation minutes.
Take Robert Williams, for instance. The Celtics' first round pick, who was taken 12 spots after Brown at 27th, played 14 minutes on Wednesday.
Williams, by the way, was impressive. He had a nice block on Dekker and a slam off a pick-and-roll that drew a big reaction from the crowd. He can get up there.
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