You knew the hot shooting was going to end sooner or later. It had to. As good as Avery Bradley is from mid-range, he wasn't going to keep hitting every long two-point shot. At one point, the Celtics were a ridiculous 16-21 on 16-23 foot jumpers, the worst shot in the game.
The key was to just keep playing. Don't overreact by sending double teams and leave others open. Don't rush shots offensively. Stay with it. Those shots won't keep falling.
And for a change, that's exactly what the Wizards did. There were no major changes in their defense, except for trying harder on Bradley. The ball went through the right people offensively. And in the end, the Celtics did finally cool off, allowing the Wizards to storm back for a 106-99 victory.
From the other side
From the other side
There were many heroes, but Trevor Ariza must be mentioned first. At one point in the first quarter, the Celtics were barely guarding him, instead using his man to double-team the post and shut off John Wall's driving lanes. It's a common coverage, but the Celtics were more overt about it than most. After a stint on the bench, Ariza realized he needed to make them pay, and make them pay he did. He got out in transition before the Celtics' defense got set, fired with confidence and hit tons of big shots. None was bigger than a dagger three in transition to put the Wizards up five with 2:24 left.
The Wizards weren't out of the woods at that point, not while Jared Sullinger was dominating the offensive glass. But they managed to hold Boston down to just one point in the minute thereafter, and after Marcin Gortat delivered a clutch tip on an offensive rebound, Wall found Nene on the pick and roll, and the Big Brazilian did what he does best, slipping a pass to Gortat for the layup and a six-point lead.
All in all, this win showed a ton of growth. Last year, the Wizards fared well at home, but couldn't win on the road. Earlier this year, the Wizards couldn't close out games and overreacted to hot streaks instead of staying in the moment and playing their game. They did both of those things this afternoon against a team that doesn't make any mistakes, and came away with a huge win.
- Another pretty good game for Kevin Seraphin, though he faded a bit in the second half. He's being placed in better positions, being used in pick and rolls and on the baseline instead of only in the post. He doesn't have to make nearly as many decisions this way, which helps his confidence. Not sure why it took so long to adjust his role like this.
- Bradley Beal has got to stop taking those 19-foot off-the-dribble pull-up jumpers on the pick and roll. Beal is a great shooter, but great shooters only develop good percentages with better selection. He's taking a normally-inefficient shot and making it even more inefficient by firing with a hand in his face. You don't want to totally kill his aggression, but for his sake, perhaps turn that green light into a flashing yellow.
- I like the way the rotations are. I know Randy Wittman would prefer something more conventional where his decisions are easier, but the Wizards are generally avoiding lulls with the minutes staggered this way, with the notable exception of the first quarter.
- Otto Porter showed me a few things, though he still has a wayyyyyysss to go. I liked the way he contested Jeff Green's turnaround hook late in the first half.
- Jordan Crawford really didn't fling away as much as he used to. Brad Stevens really has done nice work with him.
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