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Celtics can’t find their rhythm, fall to Wizards 113-101

Well, we still don’t know who the Celtics will face in round one.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

A potential first round matchup between the Celtics and Wizards is now even more likely. Deploying John Wall against Boston for the first time since Christmas, Washington was able to down their former rival 113-101.

Wall gave the Celtics trouble all night long in transition and in the pick and roll, finishing with 29 points, seven rebounds and 11 assists. You can find the full box score here, even though it was behind for most of the game.

Brown came out of the gates on fire, knocking down five threes in the first quarter to tally 21 points, a new career high for a single frame. Wall kept leaving him open in the corner, so Brown kept drilling threes in the face of a late contest. He finished the game with 27 points on 8-14 shooting. Brown turned out to be the only Celtic that could consistently hit a shot tonight, which was the team’s downfall in the end.

The Celtics made nine threes in the first half and forced ten turnovers, but only led my two at the end of two quarters. In their previous two meetings, the Celtics had to defend a ball movement-heavy Wizards team. Bradley Beal was featured as a primary ball handler in pick and roll, posing as a major problem for the Celtics defense with a 34-point, nine assist last time out.

With Wall dominating the ball handling duties for Washington, they’re a different team to try and defend. The five-time all star kept his team in the game with 16 points and six assists in the first half. Boston had a difficult time containing Wall in the pick and roll for most of the game in switching a big on to him.

Jayson Tatum struggled from the field missing his first six shots, but hit his next two that included this slam after slipping by a certain sleeping defender. However, Tatum was not very good tonight. He was loose with the ball and like the rest of his teammates, wasn’t knocking down shots.

The Celtics phenom rookie has been fantastic all season long, but teams will start to focus in on him in the postseason. For a 20-year-old wing that wasn’t expected to have such a major role this early in his career, it should present a significant challenge to his unwavering consistency throughout the year.

After his 21-point outburst in the first quarter, Brown did not record another point until the midway point of the third quarter. Tatum, Terry Rozier, Marcus Morris and Al Horford shooting a combined 7-30 from the field, but the Celtics were able to stay within seven points of a fully healthy Washington team.

Washington kept their momentum into the fourth quarter however, leading by as much as 17 over a Celtics team that struggled to knock down shots. The Celtics ended up shooting 37% percent from the field with more than a decent amount of open looks.

There weren’t a lot of positives to take away from this game, especially in the second half. Boston will have one more game to warm up for their first round series that will likely be a huge test to their injury-riddled roster.

With the loss, Boston helps Washington move into a tie for the seventh seed in the eastern conference with the Miami Heat. The regular season ends tomorrow, so the Celtics’ first round opponent is still uncertain. If the Celtics end up against the Wizards, Brad Stevens will have a very relevant piece of film to watch to see what went wrong in this game.

Boston will return to home to face the Brooklyn Nets in their regular season finale tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. EST.

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