The Wizards lost Game 1 of their second round series against the Celtics on Sunday, 123-111. Isaiah Thomas, who was in Tacoma, Washington yesterday to attend his sister’s funeral led all scorers with 33 points and 9 assists, while Jae Crowder added 24 points and made six of eight three pointers.
Al Horford had a near triple double with 21 points on 10 of 13 shooting, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds. Horford also defended Markieff Morris on a shot attempt that sprained his left ankle and forced him to miss the rest of the game.
For the Wizards, John Wall led with 20 points and 16 assists. However, he also dished eight turnovers, five in a particularly ugly third quarter. Bradley Beal led Washington scorers with 27 points, while Marcin Gortat and Otto Porter had double doubles scoring and rebounding.
This game couldn’t have started any better for the Wizards as they raced to a quick 16-0 lead. However, the Celtics inevitably chipped away at that lead and only trailed by 5 at halftime. The Celtics turned on the jets in the third quarter as they went on a three point barrage while the Wizards were turning the ball over like crazy.
And if all that weren’t enough, Washington was quite poor from the free throw line. They shot 13 of 22 from the charity stripe, a 59.1 percent rate. Unfortunately, the Wizards can’t claim that Boston had more calls, because Boston committed 25 fouls while Washington committed just 14. Ultimately, this was a bad loss considering how well they started.
So ... let’s get through some of the takeaways from this game
Losing Markieff Morris is going to hurt
Morris was injured in the second quarter when he sprained his left ankle while Al Horford was defending him very closely.
*DON'T* look if you don't like ugly injuries. Morris twists ankle/knee pic.twitter.com/NV02gJGqM5— KWAPT (@KWAPT) April 30, 2017
As ugly as that looked, Keef walked away on his own power. But don’t be surprised if he has to miss some of the games later on in this series. He only played 11 minutes today and scored 5 points.
With other key post players like Ian Mahinmi out and Jason Smith still recovering from a calf injury, this hurts a lot to say the least. Fortunately, Otto Porter stepped up today, but there is practically no depth at power forward at the moment.
Kelly Oubre must step up
With Morris out and with Smith unable to play at full strength, the Wizards utilized Kelly Oubre more, where he scored 12 points off the bench. It wasn’t a bad effort, but unfortunately, he was also there for the Wizards’ worst runs during the third quarter.
The Wizards can’t be careless with the ball when they’re leading big
The Wizards raced to a quick 16-0 lead in the beginning of this game, picking up from where they left off at the end of Game 6 against the Hawks. In an emotionally charged series like this, you know the Celtics were going to make a run at some point. But the Wizards didn’t help themselves by committing a ton of turnovers. So I wasn’t too worried about the Celtics outscoring the Wizards by nine in the second quarter.
The third quarter was a different story, as Washington turned the ball over eight times. They were fortunate that Boston only scored eight points off those turnovers. However, when a team manages to chip away at a lead after spotting 16 points in the first four minutes of a game ... any Wizards turnover was giving momentum to the Celtics.
And that leads me to ...
Today’s Wizards killer: The Celtics’ threes, especially in the third quarter
The Wizards entered the second half with a five point lead, but entered the fourth with a 15 point deficit. Since they committed eight turnovers, you’d think that fast break points coming off them would be the culprit. Instead, it was the plain old three pointer. The Celtics made 6 of 13 in the period, while Washington only made one of five. It was in this period where Crowder got hot by making three of his four long range attempts, while Thomas made two more threes, and Bradley made the last one.
All in all, the Celtics made 19 threes, but the the ones they made the third quarter changed the outcome of this game.
Next game’s on Tuesday
The Wizards play the Celtics on Tuesday in Game 2, so there’s plenty of time to recover. But man, I’m hoping Morris’ injury isn’t as bad as it looks.