The Washington Wizards executed down the stretch to take care of business and beat the Boston Celtics 111-103 for their first Christmas Day victory since 2014.
Washington spread the holiday cheer around today as all five starters plus Kelly Oubre scored in double figures tonight led by Bradley Beal with 25. John Wall turned in one of his best all-around games with 21 points and 14 assists and Otto Porter came up big, especially in the second the half, scoring 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting.
This was the Wizards team we’ve been waiting for. Let’s hope this is the game that sparks the Wizards’ turnaround after an underwhelming start to the season.
Washington executes late
Kyrie Irving hit a three-pointer midway through the fourth quarter to put the Celtics up 95-90. It looked like Washington had lost all their momentum after leading for most of the game. Scott Brooks called a timely timeout and opted to go with the small ball lineup of Wall, Beal, Oubre, Porter, and Morris to end the game. Boy, did it pay dividends.
Washington went on a quick 12-0 run to retake the lead, fueled by several offensive rebounds and highlighted by a corner three-pointer from Kelly Oubre. The Wizards were under control during this stretch and never settled for jumpers that weren’t there. As a result, they generated open shots for Morris and Porter as well as an easy dunk for Oubre.
Wall threads the needle to Beal to cap off the @WashWizards 12-0 run!— NBA (@NBA) December 26, 2017
They lead the #Celtics 106-99 weith 1:40 left to play.#NBAXmas #DCFamily pic.twitter.com/v02uqsBqjq
When it was all said and done, the Wizards outscored the Celtics 21-8 over the final 6:18 to put the game away and reverse the team’s trend of giving games away in the closing minutes.
Kelly Oubre provides the Wizards’ only spark off the bench
Oubre played just six seconds in Game 7 of their series with Boston last season. Tonight, he provided a big spark off of the bench for Washington and was a main key to the victory.
The bench scored just 11 points in the first half with Oubre accounting for nine of them. He was active on the defensive end with numerous deflections and one steal resulting in a dunk for Bradley Beal in transition.
His jumper wasn’t falling early as he missed all three of his three-pointers in the first half, but that didn’t stop him from attacking the hole. He got his first basket of the game in transition with a thunderous dunk and foul.
KELLY OUBRE JR— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) December 25, 2017
Tonight's @Verizon Dunk of the Night#WizCeltics #NBAVote pic.twitter.com/Xv8EI9dZq8
The third-year wing came up big for the Wizards down the stretch with a set of offensive rebounds and a three-pointer midway through the fourth quarter to give the Wizards the lead for good.
John Wall looked like himself (sort of)
As mentioned, John Wall was terrific in this one, scoring 21 points to go along with 14 assists. However, he was just 8-of-19 from the floor. He struggled with his jumper missing on all three of his three-point attempts and was only able to convert on shots around the hole.
Once Wall got others involved, that’s when things opened up for the Wizards. He notched eight assists after halftime as the Wizards were able to mount the late comeback. He reverted back to getting others involved which is where he thrives. That was one of the main reasons why the Wizards were able to win this game.
- Apparently, Mike Scott is human. He scored just two points tonight on 1-of-5 shooting.
- Free throw shooting remains an issue. The Wizards were just 19-28 from the charity stripe tonight.
- Marcin Gortat notched another double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Next up: The Wizards kick travel to Atlanta to face the Hawks on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET.