Boston hosted Washington on Friday night and came out the more aggressive team, seemingly heeding Marcus Morris Sr. “soul” comments, getting out to a quick 13-2 lead in the first 5 minutes of the game. Boston exhibited some great hustle D with swarming activity in the first stanza.
Getting hands in the passing lanes, quick decisive double teams, have been absent from the C’s game since the All-Star break. Deflections and forced turnovers allowed Boston to get out and run early, with Brown and Tatum the recipients of some nice transition play. Daniel Theis, provided a nice spark off the bench also and tallied 7 quick points.
Washington staged a mini run behind the nice play of Bradley Beal, and managed to end the quarter within striking distance 30-20. Washington settled in to the 2nd quarter the quicker of the two teams as Boston struggled to score, getting out and running which left the Celtics scrambling back on D. The crowd came alive when Marcus Morris Sr, managed to get free on the break and Gordon Hayward found him trailing for the emphatic finish:
Rozier with the steal, Hayward with the dime and Morris Sr. with the loud dunk! pic.twitter.com/fIV9rNK17d— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 2, 2019
The Wizards had 21 fast break points in the first half alone and managed to establish a lead for the first time in the game 45-44, as Boston looked flat footed and did not get back in numbers. Coupled with this the Celtics forced some brutal passes leading to 9 turnovers through two quarters. Brad Stevens had to reinsert Al Horford as time expired in the first half and his calming presence allowed the C’s to regain the lead 49-45.
Celtics lead 49-45 at the half, but that doesn't really tell the story. Second quarter went awful and the body language got ugly really fast.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) March 2, 2019
The story of the third quarter proved to be dare I say it, a hot shooting Marcus Smart who moved to 7th all time in franchise 3-pointers made. The Oklahoma State product was a perfect 3-3 in the third quarter as the Celtics and Wizards kept pace with one another to finish up 82-81.
The 11th placed Eastern Conference Washington, hung tough all game, and despite some new additions to the squad they played hard and kept things tight. Boston though, had steady contributions across the board tonight as 7 of 9 players registered double figures in points. With Morris, Horford and Irving all resting through the middle of the 4th quarter, the Celtics youth brigade behind Tatum, Brown and Rozier blew the barn doors off Washington with some ferocious D to establish an 9 point lead. Washington went scoreless for 4 minutes in this period as Brad Stevens rewarded Jaylen Brown for his key contributions late by leaving him in with Gordon Hayward and the Starters to close out the game.
Toscano & Pavon Give Instant Reactions to Win over Wizards: