The Boston Celtics closed out their regular season home slate on Sunday afternoon, hosting the Washington Wizards as they continued to jockey for playoff positioning at the top of the Eastern Conference. Apart from a rocky second quarter that saw Washington score 37 points, there wasn’t much drama to be had; the Celtics handled their business and improved to 49-30 on the season with a 144-102 win.
Jaylen Brown led the way offensively, leading all scorers with 32 points for the game. Jayson Tatum flirted with a triple-double, stuffing the stat sheet to the tune of 22 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. But it was a colossal effort from the Boston bench that made the difference, as the Celtics’ subs combined for 44 points and 11 three-pointers while the game was still relatively competitive.
An energized Brown opened scoring for the Celtics on the afternoon. He connected on his first three attempts from deep en route to scoring Boston’s first 11 points as part of a 5-for-5 start from the field. His hot start spearheaded a comfortable scoring attack for the Boston offense, as they shot better than 50% from the field in the quarter and took a 35-22 lead into the second.
This was also a particularly strong outing for Boston’s bench. With Daniel Theis promoted to the starting lineup before Friday’s win over the Pacers, the Celtics returned to their usual bench mob of Grant Williams, Derrick White and Payton Pritchard. The trio combined for 9-of-11 shooting in the first half, including five threes.
The Wizards didn’t crumble under Boston’s torrid scoring, however. Led by 10 points and five assists in the first half from longtime Celtics foe Ish Smith, Washington spread the ball around and kept the game around a 10-point margin for most of the second quarter. The quarter amounted to a stalemate, as the Wizards piled up 37 points, and the Celtics entered the halftime break with an 11-point advantage, 70-59.
The Celtics restored order as play began in the second half, opening the third quarter with a 13-3 run that established a bit of a cushion on the scoreboard. They pushed the lead north of the 20-point threshold as Washington’s offense began to slow down. Brown continued to pile on points, Tatum flirted with triple-double territory and the bench played nearly flawless basketball, and the Celtics entered the final quarter leading 104-79.
The fourth quarter became a perfunctory affair early on, as Williams and Pritchard combined for a trio of threes to open the quarter on a 9-0 Celtics run, pushing the Boston lead to 34 and prompting a Wizards timeout. The run reached 20-2 just four minutes into the quarter, and Ime Udoka emptied the Celtics bench to coast to the finish line.
Next up, the Celtics embark on their final road trip of the season, travelling to Chicago for a game against the sixth seeded Bulls this Wednesday at 8 PM EST on NBC Sports Boston.
For more postgame coverage of Boston’s hard-fought loss against Dallas, tune into the Garden Report Postgame Show LIVE on CLNS Media right after the game. Join A Sherrod Blakely, Bobby Manning, Josue Pavon, Jimmy Toscano and host John Zannis for a full breakdown.