Washington would close the first quarter on a 15-2 run, 11 of those scored by Nick Young including a buzzer beating three pointer to end the quarter. Young missed his third straight 20-point output by a single point but is nonetheless enjoying his finest stretch of the season.
In the first two quarters the Wizards had 18 assists, only turned the ball over three times, and did not allow any points off those turnovers. Andray Blatche, who drew criticism from head coach Flip Saunders for trash talking with Kevin Garnett in a game here last month, stayed cool and led the Wizards with 31 points and 11 rebounds. Livingston calmed the team at critical moments and added a career-high 25 points and 7 assists.
Blatche connected on 12-of-23 attempts for 31 points, while Boston's Big Three combined for 11-of-35 shooting for 27 points. "The No. 1 thing is I have a lot of respect for my coach [Flip Saunders]," said Blatche. "Last time he said, 'Just don’t say nothing.' So this time I just didn’t say nothing at all. I have respect for my coach."
Despite a shaky, sloppy second half in which they watched a 27-point third-quarter lead get whittled to six with 41.9 seconds remaining, the Wizards left the building with a surprising 106-96 victory. "It's like they expect us to be scared of them, or expect us to lose," JaVale McGee said after scoring 14 points with 11 rebounds. "We just tried to prove everybody wrong and we did. It felt good to get a real big lead but we knew we had to get a big lead in order to win by little because they are a real great team."
Wizards dominated the glass (49-40) and hit big shot after big shot when it mattered, led by a career high 25 points for Shaun Livingston, who has appeared to come full circle after going down with a devasting knee injury in a Clipper uniform 3 years back. As a team, the Wiz shot 48.7 percent, got to the line routinely (35 attempts on evening) and were extremely unselfish with the basketball (25 assists) in what the local play by play Wizards man declared, the team’s best game of the year since the Caron Butler trade.
Livingston finished with 25 points - something he hadn't done since 2004, when he was a senior at Peoria Central High, had two good knees and sported a ridiculously large Afro. He added seven assists and six assists in a season-high 42 minutes. After posting a new career high in scoring, Livingston relaxed with an ice pack on his left knee, but refused to get too excited. "I'm thankful and blessed, obviously. God is good," Livingston said. "Things were going my way, my shot was falling. I was just trying to stay disciplined. I just kept telling myself mentally that I wanted to stay in the game, stay on the players and try to control the tempo."
Shaun Livingston isn't all the way back health-wise, but the 6-foot-7 point guard's game is clearly headed in the right direction. The former lottery pick of the Los Angeles Clippers had a career-high 25 points against Boston. More important, he ran the Wizards offense with the kind of efficiency that they have lacked for the better part of this season. "Shaun was great tonight," said Wizards coach Flip Saunders. "When you play against (Rajon) Rondo, you've gotta keep him occupied."
Doc blamed tonight's loss on the fact that he gave the team yesterday off and the shoot-around today off, but the players were quick to take the blame themselves. "When we go out there and put that type of effort," said Pierce, "I don't think we really played with any toughness against this Washington Wizards team that has been struggling all year long. There's really no excuse for it, I just think when you say playing with toughness a lot of things come along with that- loose balls, having energy, a sense of urgency. All those little things come into play when I say we didn't play with any toughness and that's what it was tonight, we just got an old fashioned butt whooping."