The Wizards’ best season in nearly four decades came to a close on Monday night in a 115-105 loss to the Celtics in Boston.
Washington’s final game was a microcosm of the 93 that preceded it. The team got several great performances from their starters. Bradley Beal had 38 points on 22 shots. John Wall had 18 points, 11 assists, and 7 rebounds. Otto Porter had 20 points and 10 rebounds. Markieff Morris finished with 18 points and 9 rebounds. Unfortunately, they did not get the same kind of output from their bench. The Wizards only got 5 points from their reserves, all from Bojan Bogdanovic in the first half.
The Wizards were able to keep pace with Boston in a choppy, uneven first half, taking a two point lead into halftime. Washington then extended the lead out to six halfway through the third quarter, but that’s when things started to unravel. Boston went on a 30-11 run over the next eight minutes that turned the Wizards’ six point lead into a 13 point deficit with 10 minutes left in the game.
Washington’s starters put together one last run, fueled by Bradley Beal’s hot hand, to cut the lead down to 4 with 6:10 left. But that’s as close as Washington would get as the fatigue of a long season caught up with a five-man unit that’s logged more minutes together than any other unit in the league.
Kelly Olynyk was the surprise benefactor in the closing minutes, scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter to put the game away as the Wizards concentrated all their effort on trying to slow down Isaiah Thomas. In previous games, the Wizards had success with exploiting some of Olynyk’s defensive weaknesses with their quick guards, but they just didn’t have enough juice left to make him pay at the end of this one, and that was the difference.
Not the best finish for John Wall
Plenty of people will talk about how Wall struggled in the second half. He didn’t get to the rim effectively, and settled for bad jumpers at moments late in the game. It was an unfortunate way to end what’s been a great season.
You can tie a lot of Wall’s struggles tonight back to the team’s inability to give him an adequate backup to spell him most of the season. That’s not an excuse, that’s just a reality. Still, this can be a great learning opportunity for Wall. Hopefully a performance like this gives Wall motivation to develop better ways to stay effective late in games when his burst isn’t there.
Let’s never argue Bradley Beal’s max status again
What a marvelous performance by Bradley Beal. He was efficient, hit big shots at key moments to disrupt Celtic runs, and had a pretty great flop to boot. There are things the Wizards need to spend a lot of time worrying about next season. Worrying about overpaying Bradley Beal is not one of them.
Otto shows off more of his low post arsenal
Mouse in the house. Ottomatic. pic.twitter.com/crE9qfo8z9— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) May 16, 2017
Yeah, Otto Porter probably had about a foot on Thomas in this matchup, but still, that’s some great footwork. Let’s hope Otto Porter keeps working on that so it can be useful on all sorts of players in the future.