NBA Wizards 

Wizards falter down the stretch, Boston wins in overtime

The Boston Celtics evened the season series with the Washington Wizards last night, with a 110-104 overtime victory. Washington didn’t have the best of nights, but they had a chance to win it in regulation despite a turnover filled night. They also overcame a 7-of-27 shooting performance from their All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal. Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 28 points, Jaylen Brown had 18 and Marcus Morris scored 10 of his 15 points in the second half. Otto Porter Jr had a big night for Washington, scoring 29 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Turnovers is poor ball movement at times is what doomed Washington, they played the best defense in the league and found quality shots when they moved the ball. When they didn’t, that Boston defense wreaked havoc. The Wizards are now 4-2 since Wall went down and this may have been the first game where his absence was truly felt. Especially down the stretch, but their fighting spirit is what kept them in the game. For Boston, their bench is even more powerful with the addition of Greg Monroe. He had seven points and eight rebounds off the bench, as a whole, the Celtics got 39 points from their second unit. That gave them a 13 point edge on Washington’s second unit, their contributions played a big role in this game.

There were 12.8 seconds left in regulation after Otto Porter nailed two free throws to give Washington a three point lead. After a Boston timeout, they got Kyrie Irving on Markeiff Morris after a screen. Kyrie went into a move to create separation and he appeared to do just that. Morris tried to recover, but it seemed like a soft contest. Irving’s momentum was carrying him to his right and Morris swiped at the ball, but missed. At least it looked like he failed to contact the shooter, but Irving’s shot was a bit off and the first of several interesting calls was made. Irving went to the line and capitalized on the opportunity by knocking down all three free throws. Despite that, Washington had a chance to win in regulation as they got the ball back with 9.8 seconds left. They came out of a timeout and got the ball to Beal, Brad had yet to find a rhythm offensively. Porter was having a great night, but the ball never got to Otto. Late in the game Boston placed Jaylen Brown on Satoransky to try and limit his passing, as it initiated the offense most of the night. Beal had Irving on him, but couldn’t get a quality shot off, he had to settle for an off balance fadeaway.

Washington started the extra period with a layup from Marcin Gortat off some beautiful ball movement. Irving responded with a step-back from roughly 20 feet out, then Markieff committed Washington’s 21st turnover of the night. To make matters worse, Morris got his sixth foul of the night by fouling Kyrie on another three point attempt. That call was nearly as controversial as the first instance, but again, Irving went to the line and knocked down all three shots. Boston now had a 103-100 lead, but Washington scored on the ensuing possession. Beal found a cutting Gortat for the hoop plus the harm, Marcin converted the free throw to complete the and-1 opportunity and even things up on the scoreboard. Jaylen Brown got a big boy basket, by taking Oubre to the basket and finishing through him. Brown then hit what may have been the dagger after Oubre blocked a Horford shot attempt. 

With the shot clock running low, Brown got the ball in the corner, nearly on the baseline with Tomas on him. Jaylen used a couple of dribbles to get a little separation before unleashing a highly contested step-back shot from the corner. Both Brown and Satoransky are 6’7 and Tomas recovered well to contest the jump shot, but Jaylen hit the shot. That gave Boston a five point lead, 108-103. Oubre would get to the line and split a pair to cut the lead to four with 1:14 left in the game. Washington got two good looks from beyond the arc by both Porter and Beal, but neither of the shots dropped. Irving was fouled with 15.5 seconds left and knocked down both free throws to extend the Boston lead to six.

The Wizards got off to a rocky start, turning the ball over on the game’s very first possession against the feisty Boston defense. Things would settle down from there as the Wizards took their time and found quality shots against the Celtics. Neither team had issues getting good shots in the first period as both teams shot over 50% from the floor. Jaylen Brown didn’t have a great game the last time these two teams met, but he got off to a solid start with six points. The Wizards were led by an efficient and assertive Otto Porter with nine. Washington held a one point lead heading into the second quarter.

The Wizards second unit got off to a great start, providing great energy on both ends of the floor. Boston stared slow, Greg Monroe got a technical just 16 seconds into the period. He had something to say after missing a shot in the paint and getting called for over the back. Tim Frazier and Kelly Oubre were the leaders in energy, on one possession they each got an offensive rebound to give their team a second opportunity to score. Washington carved out a five point lead at one point, but the Celtics second unit along with Brown clawed back into it. Oubre and Mike Scott hit a few big shots, but Monroe got it going a bit down on the low block and did what he wanted to Mahinmi to the tune of seven points. What kept Washington from sustaining or extending their lead was turnovers, they had five in the quarter and 10 in the half.

Marcus Morris drilled a three pointer over the outstretched hands of his brother to give Boston a two point lead, Porter responded with a fadeaway from the foul line area to tie things up. With 53 seconds left, Beal hits a runner to put the Wizards ahead 51-49. Markieff would get revenge on his brother with a block on the ensuing possession. Porter led all scorers with 14 points at the half, while Rozier led Boston with 10 first half points.

Down two to start the half, Boston stared the third quarter with a 7-0 run. After scoring just six points in the first half, Kyrie Irving got going. The Celtics defense tightened up as well, after the Wizards shot 47.5% from the floor in the first half, they were held to just 33% in the third period. The increased ball pressure by Boston led to deflections and baskets in transition. That’s what allowed them to outscore Washington 26-19, they did most of their damage in transition.  Once Irving started to get inside the lane, Washington had to send help and that led to Horford finding space to knock down shots. He like Irving, scored nine points in the period. Still, the Celtics could only build a five point lead heading into the fourth. Similar to the first half, it was Porter keeping Washington in it. He hit a couple of timely shots, it was needed as Beal was struggling offensively. Satoransky chipped in with five points, his highlight of the quarter was when he blocked a layup by Irving.

The Wizards stared the fourth period with a 4-0 run, aided by a technical free throw and back-to-back turnovers by Boston. Tim Frazier drove and found Ian Mahinmi for a layup to tie things up at 75. Boston instantly responded with a 8-0 run, capped by a Marcus Morris step-back jumper. A couple of minutes later, Boston went up by 10 off a fadeaway out of the post by Morris. He was in at small forward at the time and he picked on the mismatch with Oubre attempting to guard him in the post. That led to a Wizards timeout with 5:23 left in the game.

Boston looked to be on the verge of blowing the game open, but Tomas stepped up and hit a huge triple in the corner. He was swung the ball in the corner and a defender closing out on him. Satoransky calmly pumpfaked to let the defender go by, before stepping into the shot. Markieff Morris stepped up in the next stretch of play, knocking down two shots and finding Oubre for a big three pointer, Kelly’s shot gave Washington a 92-91 lead with 2:11 left. Marcus would respond for Boston at the free throw line, then Porter hit another one of his midrange leaners. Washington surrendered a driving layup to Irving, but Boston fouled Porter on the ensuing possession. Otto knocked down both shots from the line to give Washington a three point lead with 12.8 seconds left.

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