Well, that didn’t last too long. Just when you thought the Wizards could potentially turn a corner, their poorly built roster came back to bite them again in their 117-108 loss to the Celtics on Wednesday.
A visibly gassed Wizards team that took an 85-83 lead into the fourth quarter, but allowed the Celtics to finish the game the same way they started it — on fire. Boston scored 38 fourth quarter points, with 20 coming from Isaiah Thomas.
Thomas scored eight quick points to start the quarter with the bench unit still in the game to give the Celtics a 98-91 lead. The Wizards made a quick 8-0 run in 56 seconds behind quick defensive plays and three pointers from Sheldon McClellan and Otto Porter.
But the Celtics didn’t slow down. They pushed their lead back up to six points after an inspiring post bucket from Al Horford, a quick two from Thomas and a three from Terry Rozier. The Celtics locked down defensively throughout the rest of the quarter and held the Wizards scoreless for just over three minutes and went on a 12-0 run to push their lead to 111-99.
They did not register another field goal until there were two minutes left in the quarter, but by then it was too late. The C’s already pulled away. Bradley Beal’s 35 points were not enough to counter the Celtics’ late push.
Here’s what we’ve learned from this one.
The Wizards hate the Celtics
If there was a game the Wizards really wanted to have, it was this one. The bad blood between these two teams reared its ugly head once again after Beal and Marcus Smart, who broke Beal’s nose last season with an elbow, got tangled up. And at the end of the game, Wall, Crowder, Smart and Beal were all caught in an exchange. Crowder even pointed a finger in Wall’s face causing him to subsequently throw a jab at Crowder.
On top of that, this is the same team Al Horford spurned for the Celtics. And on top of that, this is a team that the Wizards would have seen in the playoffs if they started today as the sixth seed in the conference facing the three seed. The Wizards do not like this team. And if they see them in the playoffs, it probably won’t be pretty.
Bad team building rears its ugly head again
This loss to the Celtics comes off of a back to back where three of their five starters played over 37 minutes and both Wall and Marcin Gortat eclipsed the 40 minute mark. This team only has four good players right now and the bench unit consistently blows leads or falls behind against poor competition.
Washington is currently in playoff position as the eighth seed after Wednesday’s loss, but this is going to be a problem going forward. Morris and Wall combined to shoot 10-42 from the field tonight and the Wizards had no answer aside from a monster game from Beal. Depth is a clear issue and they need to solve it quickly. The rest of the East is shaping into form with both the Pacers and Hawks on solid win streaks and the Bulls playing well again.
The Wizards are not currently in too much danger, but Wall apparently has an injured wrist and crooked pinky. That doesn’t bode well for the Wizards in either the short or long term.