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The Wizards took the lead two minutes into the second quarter and pulled ahead by as much as nine points with a tremendous bench performance that combined for 23 points and a 54–48 lead to close the half. The Wizards’ well-distributed shooting resulted in only three missed field goals in the second quarter alone, and aggressive defense forced 10 Boston turnovers in the first half. Guard Mike Miller led with nine points, five rebounds, and two assists at the half.
After assisting on 13 of their 18 field goals in the first half, when they built a 52-48 lead, the Wizards only had two assists in the second half. Brendan Haywood credited the Celtics for disrupting the Wizards in the final period.
Boston shot 64 percent in the third quarter to keep the pressure on Washington, but it looked like fortune might finally favor the hapless Wizards, despite a 2-of-17 night for Antawn Jamison, when Butler scrambled in the corner and hit a 3-pointer for a 78-70 lead. But Butler didn't hit a shot from the field in the final quarter.
A night that started with so much promise for the Washington Wizards ended with players trudging off the court and shaking their heads in disbelief. It was the reaction to a fourth-quarter collapse that allowed the Boston Celtics to pull away for a 99-88 victory before a sell-out crowd of 20,173 at Verizon Center. The final twelve minutes of the game were a mystery for the Wizards. In that fourth quarter the Wizards were outscored by the Celtics 25-10 on two of eighteen from the field shooting. Andray Blatche and Nick Young scored the only two field goals as the Wizards starters failed to score from the field in the fourth.
Garnett’s 19 points led six Celtics in double figures, and Boston limited Washington to 2-for-18 shooting in the fourth quarter en route to a 99-88 victory over the Wizards on Monday night. "You’re playing against the Boston Celtics, so you’re not going to get a lot of calls. KG’s going to set illegal screens; they’re not going to be called. That’s just part of the game," Wizards center Brendan Haywood said. "You’re going to go to the basket, and if it’s not basically just a straight-up WWF body slam, you’re not getting the call."
48 hours after grabbing a career high 23 rebounds and scoring 21 points, the 33-year old had one of those games that’s so bad you can’t help but laugh at yourself. In 40 minutes on the floor the co-captain went just 2-for-17 from the floor. Jamison briefly left the game in the second quarter with what he called "stiffness" in his knee, but he said that had no bearing on his horrendous shooting percentage (11%).
When you’re turning the ball over for no reason, when your legs are tired on the second end of a back-to-back, sometimes it’s best to keep things very simple. That’s especially true against a defensive team like the Wizards, who switch on a large number of screen/rolls and as a result give you opportunities to scrap the playbook and just exploit mismatches. And that’s exactly what the C’s did on offense in the 4th quarter to stabilize themselves, take the lead and hold off Washington. The 4th-quarter stats aren’t spectacular; the C’s scored 25 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the floor, the point total inflated by a garbage time dunk and some last-minute free throws. But they turned the ball over just once after coughing it up 16 times (or 15, depending on which box score you look at right now) over the first three quarters.