The Wizards came out looking sloppy, to say the least, against the Celtics. They did not take care of the ball, shot the same poor shots they took early on in the season, and couldn't stop a Celtics' team with minimal offensive firepower, leading to a deflating 101-93 loss on the road.
The Wizards shot just 25 percent in the first quarter and coupled their bad offense with nine turnovers and only scored 15 points on 20 shots. Through three quarters the team scored just 59 points on 64 shots through three quarters and coupled that with 17 turnovers as well. The offense did not change much throughout the game and that's why they could not muster up the steam to win.
Rajon Rondo booked himself another triple-double in a wild matinee basketball affair against the Wizards and denied Paul Pierce a win in the Garden as a Wizard.
Here's three things we learned:
The Celtics' 4th quarter struggles are real
As bad as the Wizards were through three quarters, the Celtics let them right back in the game just as the Grand Wizard of Wizard bloggerism Mike Prada said they would.
RT @MikePradaSBN: Wiz just need to keep this within 20 points until Boston implodes as usual in the final six minutes.— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) December 7, 2014
After playing basketball with a lack of effort throughout the first three quarters, the Wizards fought back and cut the lead to two points in the fourth quarter. They had the chance to even tie the game after Rasual Butler missed a transition layup on point blank range with under three minutes left to go.
John Wall also had a chance to tie when Evan Turner blocked a layup from him late in the game. Still, Washington had 34 points in the fourth quarter and hit 6 of 11 shots from deep. Rasual Butler chipped in with four of those threes and chipped in 14 points. Wall had 10 points and five assists to boot.
But it was too late, as the Celtics managed to get a three pointer from Avery Bradley late in the game to push the Celtics' lead to four.
Rasual Butler is also very real
If you're still missing Trevor Ariza, Butler may be reason enough for you to stop. Butler has scored in double digits off of the bench in each of the Wizards' last three wins.
Even though the streak is over, Butler still produced. He hit four threes in the fourth quarter and helped the Wizards climb back into the game. He has earned himself a spot in the Wizards' rotation and should continue to play long stretches even when Martell Webster returns.
Randy Wittman has been a bit more versatile than last year, but not enough
Wittman's rotations have always been something he has never really been good at. They have been one of the main reasons why the bench has been so poor throughout his tenure until this season. Wittman has found a groove with this team and has managed minutes well enough this season to get the Wizards to 13-6.
However, Wittman still does not know when to pull the plug on certain lineups and employ others. Wittman rarely goes small, but when he does it is normally a productive strategy. It was today and the Wizards used that for a large part of their fourth quarter comeback.
But, like Grand Master Prada states here, Wittman employed it just a bit too late.
As usual, Wittman waits to go small until he absolutely has to instead of before the momentum of the game flows the wrong way.— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) December 7, 2014
Gortat did not play one minute in the fourth quarter. Pierce, Wall and Butler played the entire quarter and Beal split time with Porter throughout. Humphries played seven minutes as the long big and spent a majority of the time as a floor spacer.
But the Wizards came into the fourth quarter down by 18 points. It was too little to late to make the change. This is something that should have been done in early in the third quarter and maybe even late into the second. It makes it way harder for teams to do things like this to Wall.
Celtics put on a clinic in the first half on how to defend Wall pic.twitter.com/IC4HxoZBbh— Umair Khan (@UKhanNBA) December 7, 2014
Hopefully, the Wizards can lick their wounds quickly, learn from their mistakes and be ready for a rematch against this same team tomorrow in DC.