The Boston Celtics ended their three game losing streak in epic fashion after defeating the Washington Wizards in overtime, 113-111. Jeff Green was a star, scoring 39 points while hitting one clutch shot after another.
Jeff Green and Phil Pressey both had a brilliant first half for the Celtics, combining for 33 points on 12-of-19 shooting. Each of them had four three-pointers, as they helped the Celtics build a 61-43 lead at halftime.
Predictably, Boston came out and played flat basketball in the third quarter. They shot only 27.3 percent had more turnovers (5), than they had assists (3). Gross. The Wizards doubled the Celtics in points, 30-15, and trailed only by three at the start of the fourth quarter.
Washington grabbed their first lead, at 88-87, with 6:37 left in the game when Martell Webster completed a four-point play after being fouled by Brandon Bass. Boston and Washington then remained tight or the next few minutes, when Phil Pressey made the play for the game: Tied 92-92, John Wall drove on a two-on-one in transition, and Pressey attacked by grabbing the ball as Wall elevated for a layup. A jump ball was called and somehow, someway, Pressey, with a 6-foot-2 wingspan, beat Wall and his 6-foot-9 wingspan, to win the jump.
The Wiz led 99-96 with less than 90 seconds to go and the miracles continued for the Celtics. With four seconds left on the shot clock, Jeff Green drilled a clutch fadeaway 27-foot three-pointer off of one foot. Yeah, it was that crazy. After that shot, the next 77 seconds of the game were scoreless as it went into overtime, the Celtics' first of the season.
To put it simply: Overtime was crazy. Green, Sullinger, and Pressey, all hit bonkers shots, but the Wizards kept answering with huge shots of their own. With 13.9 seconds remaining, Marcin Gortat got to the line and went 1-of-2 from the line to tie the game 111-111.
With less than 10 seconds, Gerald Wallace (of all players), drove up the court all by himself...and as you expected him to pull up to pass, he kept dribbling to the rim, and threw up a running layup to win the game for the C's, 113-111. What a game!
Rondo rests, Pressey steps up
The Celtics were without their star point guard, Rajon Rondo, who didn't play tonight for "precautionary reasons." But it's for the best because there is no reason to put any pressure on his legs, which are still getting back into "basketball shape." All the time spent in the gym doesn't make up for playing the actual game, as we have seen many players recovering from injuries go on and hurt themselves in a similar way.
In Rondo's absence, Phil Pressey came out and had arguably the best game of his young career. The rookie from Mizzou scored 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting, in addition to four assists. Pressey was shooting 6-of-38 from three-point range in 39 prior games, but was 5-of-6 tonight. He hit a clutch three with under a minute remaining to give the Celtics a 111-108 lead. The Celtics, and Phil, both hope that success continues.
Green, Green, Green!
Jeff Green was absolutely sensational, scoring 39 points on an economical 14-for-26 shooting. He also chipped in with 9 rebounds and 3 steals. It's games like this that make Green such an attractive player to have on a team. He was dominant throughout the night while hitting some ridiculous, clutch shots from outside.
Not much else has to be said, but the Celtics wouldn't have won this game if it weren't for Jeff Green. He let it all out on the floor, and the team will need more games like this if they want to continue to win games the rest of the season.
With both Rondo (rest/knee) and Avery Bradley (ankle) out tonight, the Celtics had to adjust their offense. Phil Pressey and Gerald Wallace shared the point guard responsibilities throughout the night and played relatively well. As I said above, Pressey had a great game, but he did have some problems in the fourth quarter with turnovers.
Gerald Wallace actually had a poor man's quadruple double, with nine points, nine assists, six rebounds, and four steals in 40 minutes of play. Wallace, like usual, hustled hard, diving to the floor for loose ball, and I honestly think the team plays quite well when he's in the game.
Mixed bag for the D-Leaguers
Chris Johnson played again after performing like a player deserving of a max contract against the Miami Heat on Tuesday night. The stat line wasn't too impressive though, as he scored only nine points on 30 percent shooting. However, Johnson did a lot of the little things that won't show up on the stat sheet once again, by hustling for loose balls, running the floor hard in transition, and for showing pretty good awareness of offensive spacing.
Vander Blue made his NBA debut tonight and appeared to have some nerves in the first half. He inexplicably stepped out of bounds while bringing the ball up the court on a timeout, and later he forced a pull-up jumper with over 20 seconds remaining on the shot clock. Besides that, he did play within himself, and at times showed his potential in transition. On the night, he totaled two points, two rebounds, and one assist in only four minutes.
Almost another blown lead
I hate to be a "Negative Nancy," but it's easy to forget that the Celtics almost blew another huge lead tonight considering the overtime heroics. They led by 19 points near the end of the first half, but the Wizards were right back in the fight by the middle of the third quarter.
It's hard to understand why these meltdowns occur other than the fact that the team just plays without energy when they get off to large leads. The defense doesn't move as well, and as a result, the offense stutters. Interestingly, the Celtics have managed to come back from plenty of deficits. Chances are this is just basketball's way of equalizing anything out, because it sure as hell does make for adventurous games.
The Boston Celtics will play again on Friday when the red-hot Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City Thunder come to town. On Sunday, the game everyone has been waiting for will be finally be here, as Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett make their return to TD Garden.