After two dangerously close encounters with the Celtics, the Wizards finished the C's off at home with relative ease. Paul Pierce extracted sweet revenge against his former team for one last time this season with 17 points on just nine shots. Kris Humphries got in on the act as well with a team high 18 points and 9 rebounds on the night.
Even without a major contribution offensively from John Wall, the Wizards were able to break the 100 point margin with crisp ball movement and great transition play. The team finished with 12 fast break points and 22 points off of 18 Celtics turnovers.
This was a game the Wizards desperately needed to win with the toughest part of their schedule coming up over the next few weeks. Eight of the next 10 games the Wizards will play will be against playoff teams and one of the teams they'll face who aren't in the playoffs are the Oklahoma City Thunder. Six of those 10 games will be against opponents from the Western Conference. With Atlanta and Toronto playing the way they are and Chicago appearing to hit their stride, the Wizards need to get every win they can to keep their place among the top of the conference.
Here are the three things we've learned from the victory today.
Sharing is Caring
The Wizards averaged 25 assists per game prior to the contest against the Celtics and ranked 4th in the league in assist per game average as a team. That total is only going up after tonight. The Wizards finished with 28 assists on the night and, this time, Wall only had seven of them.
Andre Miller pitched in seven assists himself off the bench and five other Wizards chipped in with at least two assists. The team made 45 field goals and assisted on 28 of them. In the second quarter the Wizards assisted on nine of 11 made field goals.
This has become one of the best passing teams in the league over the last two years and it reflects in the culture of the team. Good passing and assisting does not necessarily always lead to good offense, but it certainly does not hurt things.
Humphries is worth every dime the Wizards are paying him
There were questions about who the Wizards' third big off of the bench would be this season after solid acquisitions of Blair and Humphries. Kevin Seraphin and Drew Gooden III came into their own last year and have both showcased solid play this year, but Humphries has emerged as the clear-cut third big on this team as both a starter and a reserve.
In 24 minutes off of the bench Humprhies lead the team in scoring and rebounding. He brings a floor spacing element with his midrange jumper that the Wizards did not really have last year. He knows where to spot up after drives, where to run to in transition and he rebounds the ball like a mad man.
Some questioned the acquisition because of off-the-floor activity and production on bad teams thus far in his career, but Humprhies has been worth every cent the Wizards have been paying him this season.
John Wall might actually be a Wall
The Celtics had 18 turnovers in the game and Wall forced at least five of them. He had three steals on the night before sitting out the rest of the third quarter. Wall drew two charges within a two minute span right before the end of the first half.
Wall had his hands deep in the chaos that consumed the Celtics' offense and caused them to turn the ball over. It's great to see him have such an awful offensive night, but still have a tremendous impact on the game. It's really rare to find two-way packages like that at any position, but Wall is proving that he's one of the best two-way players in the league.