Last week it was the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets. Tonight, the Wizards are showing that no two-seed is safe in Capital One Arena as they knock off the Boston Celtics, 99-94.
Ish Smith, who’s been on an insane tear as of late kept things rolling as he led the Wizards with 27 points (15 in the fourth quarter) to go along with four assists and four rebounds. Isaiah Thomas poured in 17 points against his former team and Troy Brown Jr. added 15 points and nine rebounds en route to yet another impressive Washington victory.
The Wizards never trailed in this ballgame, but midway through the fourth quarter, Boston clawed back in this one to tie the game at 80. Then, it was Ish Smith’s turn to takeover. Smith knocked down clutch basket after clutch basket to stretch the Wizards lead back out to eight, 88-80.
Washington would hit their free throws to close out this one as the Wizards get once again, arguably their most impressive victory of the season.
Ish Smith turns in another outstanding performance
Smith has been outstanding as of late and tonight was more of the same. After 12 first half points, Scott Brooks opted not to reinsert Smith back into the game until there was just over 4:30 to play in the third quarter.
But it was the fourth quarter where Smith shined. Just like he’s been doing most of the year, Smith did an excellent job in keeping his dribble alive, probing the defense, and finding openings in the paint to sliver through. With the game tied at 80 and looking like Boston might take control, Smith did his dance against Enes Kanter finishing with some english off the glass to regain the lead for Washington.
Ish Smith is straight BALLIN pic.twitter.com/aMkUZ7CY36— Wizards Nation (@WizardsNationCP) January 7, 2020
Just moments later with the shot clock winding down, Smith pulled up from the top of the key for his fifth basket of the quarter. He wasn’t done there. The very next time down the floor, Smith pulled up in semi-transition over Daniel Theis and nailed the jumper stretching the Wizards lead to eight.
We are all Moe Wagner right now #RepTheDistrict pic.twitter.com/gLFmvPM83b— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) January 7, 2020
There’s not much more to say. The Wizards were outstanding tonight and specifically, Smith was outstanding. The Washington fans let him hear it with “MVP” chants as he went to the line late in the fourth quarter.
MVP chants for Ish Smith in Washington pic.twitter.com/QX8JqFhLxQ— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) January 7, 2020
Washington turns in a strong performance on the defensive end
The Wizards played well on offense tonight but their defense was even more impressive. The Wizards held the Celtics to a season-low 17 points in the first quarter as they shot just 29 percent from the field in the first half.
In a year where Washington is giving up points in bunches, tonight, the Wizards held the Celtics under 100 points - just the second time they’ve held an opponent under 100 points all season.
The Wizards did an outstanding job rebounding on both ends of the floor. They often went to the 2-3 zone which has been a nightmare in the past. But tonight, it didn’t come back to haunt them as they were gang rebounding for all loose balls. Energy on the defensive end was cranked up a notch as guys were diving for loose balls and were great at closing passing lanes and defecting Boston’s passes.
Washington ended the night with nine blocked shots, eights steals, and forced 17 turnovers leading to 16 points on the other end.
The injury bug continues to bite this team
Early in the second quarter, Garrison Mathews hustled back on defense and looked to step on Jayson Tatum’s foot, rolling his ankle in the process. Mathews left the game with a sprained ankle and wouldn’t return becoming the latest Wizards player to get bit by the injury bug.