Where should we start?
The Wizards dug themselves into a big hole early, with Bradley Beal being the only starter to get a field goal until 5:17 left in the half. Excluding Beal (who had a respectable 5/9 with some nice drives to the rim), the starters shot 2-18 in the first half. In a narrative that should feel familiar to Wizards fans, the bench came in and clawed their way to just a 9 point deficit, which the starters promptly allowed balloon back to a 19 point deficit (18 at the end of the half). Nene left the game early with a calf strain, causing Randy Wittman to insert DeJuan Blair with 3:19 left in the first quarter.
The biggest problem in the first half (if I have to pick just one) was rebounding. The Celtics crashed the boards hard and often, out rebounding the Wizards 32-24 in the half. Jared Sullinger had 12 rebounds at the end of the half (5 offensive). Otto Porter played just 6 minutes in the half, after picking up 3 fouls (two of which were due to poor decisions).
Jared Dudley started the second half for Humphries. The move paid off, with Dudley hitting three quick shots (two of them threes). The momentum swing failed to materialize, however, The Wizards struggled to contain the Celtics dribble penetration, box out, and defend stretch bigs on the perimeter. The deficit remained around 20 for most of the third. Washington had 8 turnovers in the third quarter alone, two coming from Wall losing the ball out of bounds.
Wittman got creative and/or desperate to start the fourth, slotting Porter at power forward with Kelly Oubre on the wing, DeJuan Blair, Ramon Sessions and Gary Neal. The latter two players were replaced with Wall and Beal after about a minute and a half. As our own Umair Kahn pointed out on Twitter, we would have been ecstatic to see this lineup log time together earlier in the season; tonight it just felt futile. Wittman rode the lineup until 7:29 when he subbed Dudley in for Porter, with the Wizards down 66-89.
Garbage time officially started with 5:56 left to play, when Wittman pulled Wall and Beal. The Celtics won 111-78.
In case you weren’t depressed enough yet, here are some lowlights from the box score:
Wizards starting front court: 4-21, 10 points
Celtics starting front court: 15-28, 41 points
Turnovers: 22 (Wizards) - 15 (Celtics)
Total rebounds: 46 (Wizards) - 58 (Celtics)
Things are bad, and I’m not sure what will make them get better.