The first year of the Brad Stevens era is now officially in the books following the Celtics' 118-102 loss to the Washington Wizards in Wednesday night's season finale and, to some, this day couldn't have come any sooner. Yes, the guys in green experienced one of the franchise's worst seasons in recent memory, but if there was anything positive to take away from this down year it's the consistent effort the team put forth night in and night out. Tonight was no different, as the Celtics battled their way through game number 82, giving the TD Garden faithful everything but a win on Fan Appreciation Night.
Boston got out to a slow start in this one with Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass being the only two to convert at least one field goal attempt in the first period. It also didn't help that the Wizards were dominant on the offensive end. John Wall finished the quarter with 13 points and five assists while Trevor Booker dominated the paint, scoring with an array of post moves and up-fakes.
However, the Cs picked up their level of intensity in the opening minutes of the second, fueled by an extremely touching tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings that took place a year ago yesterday.
Chris Johnson seemed to benefit the most, though, pouring in 10 points through the first 6 minutes of the frame which effectively cut the Washington lead down to five. Washington responded with an 8-0 run of their own to close out the half and took a 12-point lead into the locker room.
The story was very similar to that of the second following the break. Kelly Olynyk sparked an 8-0 Celtics run before the Wizards shifted the momentum back in their favor with two separate runs of six and eight unanswered points.
From there, Washington opened up their lead to as large as 20 points in the fourth quarter and never looked back despite a solid effort from Olynyk offensively.
With the loss, the Celtics fell to 25-57 for the year which counts as their lowest win total in a single season since, you guessed it, the 2006-07 season when they went 24-58. Of course, we all know what happened that summer.
"Hopefully we'll come back better next year," said Jared Sullinger as he addressed the crowd prior to the tip.
The feeling's mutual, Sully.
Note - Brandon Bass received the 9th annual Red Auerbach trophy before the game. The award is given to the Celtic player or coach that best exemplifies what it means to be a Celtic both on and off the floor throughout the year.