Balance was the theme of the night for the Boston Celtics in their 110-104 overtime victory over the Washington Wizards. Six players scored in double figures, with the production spread between 11 and 28 points. It was a good look for a Boston team that stood pat and didn’t make a trade earlier in the day at the trade deadline.
The Celtics made an effort to get out in transition on a regular basis, with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum leading the way. After taking a 51-49 halftime lead, the shorthanded Wizards were unable to keep up in the second half and overtime. Boston’s bench helped stretch the lead in the fourth quarter, behind some strong play from Marcus Morris.
Kyrie Irving led the way for the Celtics with 28 points, six rebounds and six assists. Irving knocked down three free throws with 11 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 98 all. This was after he was fouled by Markieff Morris while attempting a potential game tying three-pointer. Morris then fouled Irving attempting another three-pointer early in the extra period.
Brown scored 18, including a three-pointer with the clock running down late in overtime. Tatum added 11 of his own. Morris scored 15 off the bench, with fellow reserve Terry Rozier adding 12.
Greg Monroe made his Celtics debut and immediately made an impact on the board and with his passing, in addition to his low-post scoring. In 20 minutes, Monroe scored five points, grabbed six rebounds and handed out two assists.
To the surprise of some, Boston sat out the trade deadline, while the Eastern Conference rival Cleveland Cavaliers overhauled a large portion of their roster. Despite being interested in a deal for Tyreke Evans of the Memphis Grizzlies, the Celtics wouldn’t meet the reported asking price of a first round pick for the combo guard. At this point, after the addition of Monroe, Boston is likely to maintain the roster they have. Some rumors have them still being interested in veterans that could shake loose on the buyout market, which will mean parting with a player to clear the necessary roster spot.
The Wizards only made a small move at the deadline, when they dumped Sheldon Mac to cut some of their luxury tax payment. Without John Wall for much of the remainder of the regular season, Washington is rumored to be in the buyout market for additional help.
As it stands, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. are having to carry a much heavier load. Porter was the Wizards high-scorer with 27 and Beal added 18. Beal missed a potential game-winner at the buzzer, as he struggled with his shot most of the game, hitting just 7-of-27 on the night.
Wall’s replacement, Tomas Satoransky scored 14 and Kelly Oubre Jr. put in 11 off the bench.
The Celtics victory was important, because they are battling the Toronto Raptors atop the Eastern Conference. Toronto won earlier in the evening to keep pace with Boston and remains just one game behind.
The Celtics return home for a back-to-back game against the Indiana Pacers on Friday night. The Pacers have been off since Monday, after their game on Wednesday at the Pelicans was postponed due to a leaky roof in New Orleans.