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Celtics Vs. Wizards Recap: Lack Of Composure Late Costs Washington In 100-94 Loss

Once again, the Washington Wizards fought hard, and once again, they were done in late by bad offense and a lack of composure in falling, 100-94, to the Boston Celtics. The Wizards allowed the Celtics to enforce their will on the game, and then Paul Pierce did the rest, holding off the Wizards' rally. Late-game selfishness once again cost the Wizards, with John Wall and Jordan Crawford taking some horrible shots and JaVale McGee curiously refusing to foul after the Celtics got the ball.

An optimist would say the Wizards fought hard, but Boston was short-handed without Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. This game was for the taking. Instead, the Wizards fell to 2-14 on the year. Some more notes on the game:

  • Pretty good beginning for JaVale McGee. The block on Avery Bradley was nice, but I rather enjoyed his hedge and recovery on the first Paul Pierce-Jermaine O'Neal pick and roll, as well as his screen to free Nick Young for his first jump shot. Give credit where it's due to Andray Blatche as well, who did a nice job hedging and recovering on Pierce as well.
  • Too much of Nick Young shooting early. Obviously, he needs to get into a rhythm, but that can be accomplished without running the first five plays for him. The next few possessions were a bit better.
  • John Wall hesitating hurt him in a couple side pick and rolls to the baseline. On the first one, he could have turned the corner, but was slow and instead missed a tough jumper. On the second one, he hesitated a little less, but that little hesitation was enough to allow the Celtics' help defender to sneak in and draw the charge. He was much more decisive later in the quarter, and it resulted in a couple really nice plays.
  • You like McGee getting post position, but not drop-stepping to the baseline and instead shooting a wild hook is not how to capitalize at all.
  • Blatche's dunk was nice, but he was also rotating well on defense and rebounding. Pretty good start for him.
  • One of the big problems for the Wizards early was the game had little flow. There were a lot of early whistles for ticky-tack fouls, which hurts a team like the Wizards that gets so many points in transition and has a very limited half-court offense. That helped keep the Celtics in the game even though the Wizards were playing pretty well. Going against Boston's set defense every time is very tough. Credit the Celtics for getting back as well; they're one of the best in the league at that.
  • Shelvin Mack was impressive again. Nice pick, Ernie. He doesn't make mistakes and defends all 94 feet, making him the perfect backup point guard.
  • Very surprised to not see Trevor Booker get in until the very end of the first half. Kevin Seraphin played pretty well, all things considering, but it's still confusing to see Booker not in there when he's done such good things when he's played.
  • The Wizards really struggled to guard the Celtics' curls. They're tough to guard, but teams do it, and the Wizards should have found a way too. There wasn't enough bumping the cutter, especially with Ray Allen. That hurt them midway through the second quarter.
  • Lots of people were making a lot out of the Celtics having zero offensive rebounds midway through the second quarter, but at the same time, the Wizards had almost no fast-break points. These things are related. Hard to grab offensive rebounds when you have three guys dropping back on every possession.
  • That also explains why the Wizards struggled in the second quarter. It's hard for a team like theirs to score against Boston's set defense. Basically, it's no major accomplishment that the Wizards held the Celtics to zero offensive rebounds. The Celtics prospered because they did it to themselves.
  • Thank goodness for Wall in the second quarter. He did a nice job of understanding that he needed to carry the offense in the second quarter. Sometimes, being a point guard does mean dominating the ball when your teammates are struggling. The hope is the game becomes continuous so those guys can get easy opportunities later.
  • Tempo really was the name of the game in that first half. The Celtics controlled it, and that's why they were up at halftime.
  • Not sure why Wall rested for the final minute of the half. Probably could have used him on those possessions.
  • The second half began pretty much the same way the first half ended. Boston controlled tempo and the Wizards' offense was useless against Boston's stifling half-court defense. The Wizards' defense needed to pressure Boston more to try to force turnovers, because they have no chance in a half-court game.
  • Not a good game for Young today, but I don't think everything was his fault. He didn't get very good help from the Wizards' big men, which is a must when you play the Celtics. His offense was entirely on him though.
  • Nice to see the Wizards get the ball to McGee in the post. The Celtics are notorious for never double-teaming, so there are opportunities to get easy baskets there if the Wizards use them.
  • The Wizards have to shoulder some blame for the tempo of the game. Here's what I mean. With four and a half minutes left in the third quarter, Wall picked Avery Bradley's pocket. It was a really nice play and it was exactly what the Wizards need to do. But instead of taking advantage, three Wizards players -- Chris Singleton, Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee -- walked up the floor. With only one player running with him, Wall had to pull it back and run a half-court set, which resulted in a turnover.
  • There were a few more fast breaks at the end of the third quarter, which was good. The Wizards' only chance to win is to speed up the game. Still, I think there were opportunities missed to pressure the Celtics for all 94 feet. With Avery Bradley and E'Twaun Moore in there, it's the perfect opportunity for Wall to be in their grill. He didn't do it consistently enough.
  • Great job by Seraphin locking down Brandon Bass. His block on Bass was huge, as was his quick outlet to Wall that led to the Booker alley-oop. The Wizards still didn't pressure the ball enough, but they were more active in the half court, which helped allow them to get out and run. Nice to see them get right in their man's grill.
  • When Saunders talks about Singleton's struggles defensively, he's talking about possessions like the one where Pierce went right around him easily on the baseline. Singleton has the tools to be a great defender but needs to stay more balanced in his stance.
  • Speaking of those tools, two possession later, Singleton stayed down and used his length to contest a fadeaway, leading to the fast-break dunk by Young.
  • Avery Bradley is nothing if not persistent.
  • Pierce really is a tough cover. My first instinct was to say the Wizards should have guarded him like they guarded Durant (smaller guy, get into his legs), but Pierce is so strong that it's probably better to guard him with length. Except, that doesn't really work because Pierce can just get to his spot and find a way to get his shot off anyway. The one matchup I would have liked to see is Booker, but I understand the reluctance there because it's hard to score with him out there.
  • The Wizards' spacing was horrendous on too many critical possessions late in the game. That's even with Crawford and Young playing on the wings. This is often the issue when Blatche and McGee play together late in games.
  • Was that Wall on Pierce? Wow.
  • Wall's death stare towards Blatche on the possession where Garnett dunked it to put the Celtics up five could have killed somebody.
  • Lots of hero ball late, just like against the Nuggets. Eventually, this will be fixed, you'd think. You'd hope.
  • Booker overhelped a bit on Garnett's jumper to put the Celtics up five. He got back just a bit too late and didn't put a hand up to contest the shot. That was just enough for Garnett. Every little bit counts. Booker's a pretty good clamp defender, but he was outsmarted off the ball late in the game.
  • That last flailing attempt by Wall summed up a lot of the team's problems. Wall forced an awful shot, and McGee, instead of immediately fouling, hung his head and ran down court, forcing someone else to foul. So little composure by all involved there.

It's really tempting to be happy with the Wizards' effort, but this was a game they should have won. They let Boston enforce its will on the game and then made really bad decisions late.