That was easy, right? After a brief scare from Boston early in the second half, Washington retook control of the game and handled their business. This was a Boston team without Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger, playing Joel Anthony extended minutes with Kelly Olynyk in foul trouble, and it showed. The Wizards' frontline of Trevor Booker, Nene, and Marcin Gortat threw their weight around down low and they cruised late to a 118-102 win.
It wasn't all pretty, and look no further than the start of the third quarter as to why. The Wizards came out flat after weathering a Celtics rally late in the first half, and refused to move the ball offensively. Not to rain on Trevor Booker's parade -- he was fantastic tonight -- but his ball watching and rebounding hunting really hurt tonight. He never once boxed out as the ball went up in the air, allowing Olynyk and co to swoop in from the weak side for easy second chance points.
The Celtics began the second half on an 8-0 run, and continued to stay within striking distance for much of the third quarter. John Wall had his normal struggles with a quick, undersized point guard in Phil Pressey, allowing too much dribble penetration and not making an effort to veer back into the lane to help on the drive.
But the Celtics are still the Celtics, and a regression was inevitable. The Wizards finally woke up and made their run, and they did it by getting into the lane and scoring down low. It wasn't all about their hot shooting from the perimeter this time around, but rather their ability to exploit their matchups inside. No one on Boston's roster has the ability to contain Gortat, Nene, and Booker, and Wall made life easier for the aforementioned bigs by making quick decisions.
It's always nice to see guys like Booker building up some confidence heading into the playoffs. This was one of his better games since entering the league. He ran the floor hard, didn't do too much with the ball and made quick moves towards the basket. He's not a jump shooter -- let's get that out of the way first -- and the offense tends to die when he's holding the rock for more than a couple of seconds. But tonight he did a great job of sticking to the basics, and hopefully he'll continue to do so moving forward. He can become a key player in the playoff rotation if he plays this way.
We were all scared for a few minutes as Charlotte made their run against Chicago and won in overtime. It happened just as the Celtics made their little run at the beginning of the third quarter in this game, and we were all beginning to worry if this was another #SoWizards moment. But thankfully, that wasn't the case, Brooklyn fell to Cleveland, and Washington finishes the regular season as the fifth best team in the Eastern Conference.
Now, onto the playoffs. Go crazy.