The Wizards dressed for a funeral, and they did their best to bury the Celtics in the opening quarter. If not for the pregame theatrics, you wouldn’t have guessed there was much hostility in the early minutes. The game wasn’t that chippy, and the crowd wasn’t super aggressive either. Evidently the Wizards just channeled all of their anger into their offense. They shot 70% from the field, helping them build up a nine-point lead to end the quarter.
Isaiah Thomas was effective on offense, but that was about it for Boston. They were just 2/12 from three-point range and struggled to find scoring. Stevens even drew up a play for a James Young. That either showed his creativity or desperation, maybe both.
Boston’s offense did their best to keep the game close in the second quarter though. They unleashed their fair share of highlight plays. Isaiah Thomas hit an insanely deep, contested three. Jaylen Brown converted a tough and-1 in transition. They also finally started hitting some of their three-point attempts. Isaiah Thomas was brilliant too. He dropped 17 points and 8 assists in the half alone.
This was all well and good, but there was just one problem—namely, that Washington kept scoring at will. The Wizards continued finding open shots into the second quarter. Their big men screened really well and did a good job creating space for shooters. Boston only cut the lead by two points and trailed 66-59 at half.
Stevens went small with Brown subbing in for Amir to start the second half. This gave the Celtics more speed and some defensive versatility. What it didn’t do, however, was diminish the lead. John Wall was dominant in the quarter. His blistering drives to rim and creative passing torched the Celtic defense.
Boston hurt themselves with some sloppy play in the quarter as well. A few bad decisions and dropped passes created too many turnovers for the Celtics to chip away at the lead. Thomas was quiet, and nobody else on offense could carry the load.
The Wizards opened the fourth quarter holding an 11-point lead. For the first half of the quarter, Boston kept chipping it down to single digits. But every time it seemed like they were getting over the hump, the Wizards made a play to extend the lead again. They especially killed the Celtics in transition. Boston never was able to get it any closer, and the Wizards closed out the game easily.
There were a few nice slams in this game. John Wall’s dunk on Olynyk and Bradley Beal’s transition finish come to mind. But none were quite as vicious as Brian Scalabrine dunking on our old friend Kevin O’Connor.
I'm never reading the ringer https://t.co/K3dwsA9K0L— Brian Scalabrine (@Scalabrine) January 25, 2017
Things you can’t unsee
The Wizards staged a literal crawling baby race during one of the time-out breaks. Despite its playful appearance, it was the stuff of nightmares. There isn’t a metaphor for the game coming here folks, that kind of thing just can’t go unmentioned.