1. Isaiah Thomas had a far nicer return visit to Boston this time around than his last time at TD Garden. He scored 18 points and handed out eight assists. It’s great to see IT having a positive impact again. And, of course, Celtics fans showed him love:
It's still all love ❤️— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) November 14, 2019
Wizards guard @isaiahthomas got a warm welcome from Celtics fans tonight
More on IT's return to Boston: https://t.co/IHdDF8mkGS pic.twitter.com/HOf9cXNFJT
2. With Gordon Hayward, Daniel Theis and Robert Williams all injured, Brad Stevens had to go deep into his bench. This created additional opportunities for guards Brad Wanamaker and Carsen Edwards. Wanamaker has been a part of the rotation all season, but has seen his playing time tick up to around 20 minutes per game. He delivered versus Washington with 10 points (6-of-6 at the free throw line) and 5 assists.
Edwards played his best game as a pro with 18 points in just over 20 minutes. Edwards is never shy and got off 12 shots during his time, connecting on seven of them, including 4-of-5 from downtown.
With two bigs out, Vincent Poirier saw his first meaningful minutes. While he only played nine minutes, Poirier was successful with three points, four rebounds and three assists while being a +10 for the game.
3. It was a tough start for Jaylen Brown, who began the game 0-for-5 from the floor. But he stuck with it and finished the night 9-of-14 for 22 points on an overall line of 9-of-19 shooting.
But it wasn’t Brown’s scoring that really caught the eye. It was his work in other areas. This pass was a good example of how far Brown has come as a playmaker. He has his head up and makes a difficult pass look fairly easy:
Brown’s defense was also on point in a game that only intermittently featured anyone doing much on that end of the floor. Here he keeps Rui Hachimura in front of him before contesting the jumper without fouling:
Then late in the game, Brown’s Team USA experience of defending centers comes in to play. He’s giving up a ton of size to Thomas Bryant, but makes this an almost impossible scoring opportunity for Bryant:
4. Jayson Tatum had a big-time bounce back from his 1-of-18 performance against Dallas. Tatum made several big plays, including shots that should be go-to moves for him. On this first one, Tatum uses his hesitation turn-around to draw the And-1:
Here Tatum gets himself in the paint and this little fade-away is a shot he should be able to get against most bigger players:
Finally, with the Wizards refusing to go away, Tatum uses his quickness and handle to blow by two opposing Washington bigs for another And-1:
5. Maybe Marcus Smart really is whatever a “Stretch 6” is:
6. Boston’s defense left a lot to be desired, but the offense had it going. A big part of that was ball movement, as the Celtics piled up 32 assists on 49 made baskets. This play was a thing of beauty:
7. Washington played a ton of zone. In the first half, they zoned on over half of the Celtics possessions. It took Boston a while to figure it out, but they came out with a different plan of attack in the second half. The Celtics came out of halftime with 10-for-10 shooting and took control of the game and never relinquished it.
8. Bradley Beal got whatever he wanted for most of the game, but here Smart shows what happen if you expose the ball right in his face:
9. The Celtics put the game on cruise control way too early. This includes both the players and Stevens. After going up 137-121 with 3:29 left, Boston allowed Washington to go on a 12-3 the rest of the way. Postgame, Stevens said that they all need to be a lot better, himself included, and this was a prime example.
10. But all that said, a new favorite around here is Kemba Walker for plays like this:
Looks an awful lot like the action Smart and Walker ran with Theis late in the game against the Mavericks. And once again Walker delivered when it counts. Coffee is for closers. Kemba gets coffee.