After having Saturday's game against the Utah Jazz canceled because of an east coast blizzard, the Wizards played as if they were barely thawed out. They forced five Celtics turnovers in the first half, but just four for the rest of the game. They themselves had four turnovers in the first quarter but proceeded to give the ball away 15 more times as well as hand delivering the Celtics 26 points off of turnovers.
The Wizards started the game doing everything right and found themselves up late in the first quarter -- but, as always with the Celtics, they found a way to come out on top. After being down 20-15 with just 1:08 left in the first quarter, the Wizards allowed Isaiah Thomas to get to the free throw line for two easy buckets.
Kelly Olynyk built off of that with an easy two pointer, but to cap the half, Evan Turner was fouled by Bradley Beal on a three-point attempt despite shooting just 14 percent on threes all season long.
That final minute of the first quarter would encapsulate the Wizards' efforts to resist a sweep from the Celtics. They tried their best. They did everything they could. They had it in the bag.
Until they just didn't.
This game was sobering for many reasons, but if we had to choose just one, it's that the Celtics are just a better team than the Wizards. They flat out dominated them all season long, and quite frankly, they should be glad the season series is over with.
The difference between the way these two teams are coached is stark. The Wizards are a talented team, but cannot manage to put together two coherent halves of basketball night in and night out. The Celtics do not have the most talent, but they play hard, smart and dominate you on the defensive end.
This game doesn't end things for Washington, but it sure puts them in their place. To add insult to injury, Beal left this one with a bloody nose after receiving an elbow from Marcus Smart on a layup in the first half.
Here's what we've learned from this one:
Even when healthy, the Wizards have a long way to go
Yes, the Wizards have had more injuries than any other team in the league. Yes, that matters tremendously when your second, third and fourth players have all missed significant amounts of time.
But tonight, the Wizards had John Wall, Marcin Gortat, Nene and Bradley Beal all available tonight and they got destroyed by a team they are trying to catch in the standings.
The Celtics took the Wizards out of everything they wanted to do offensively with almost every lineup. There were healthy bodies on the floor tonight, but the Wizards were still dominated. Sure, they'll get better. Especially as the competition gets easier. But beating good teams may always be a challenge and the Wizards still may not be that good.
Gortat and Nene cannot play together
While the lineup has worked in certain spaces and both are very good players, playing Gortat and Nene together just doesn't work anymore.
Gortat doesn't move the ball as well as he should in this offense and takes too many post looks and midrange jumpers. While Nene is a much more willing passer, teams are willing to let him work on the low block and help down off of the perimeter.
Randy Wittman didn't help things by playing the two together with Garrett Temple, Wall and Otto Porter. Those three are good players, but none of the three are respected shooters. The spacing tonight was awful and the results should be bad enough for us to see Jared Dudley inserted back into the starting lineup.
The Wizards don't have much time to turn things around, but they'll get an opportunity to do so tomorrow night against the Toronto Raptors -- a team the Wizards always struggle with.
Let's hope that isn't the case tomorrow.