Ford Keys to the Game: Wizards 92, Celtics 100
Wizards 92, Celtics 100
The Celtics completed a two-game, two-night sweep of the Washington Wizards with a 100-92 victory Monday night. Boston won both games by eight points, but Game 2 was very different from Game 1.
Sunday night was all about the C’s, as they blew out the Wizards in Washington. Boston led that game by double-figures for nearly the entire night.
There was no blowout to watch on Monday night in the Garden. The Celtics needed big plays at clutch moments to win this one.
If we needed any proof, we now know that the big-shot antics of Ray Allen and Paul Pierce did not disappear during the extended offseason. They were in full force Monday night and led the Celtics to their third victory of the season.
The first big bucket from that duo came from the hands of Allen, who drilled his sixth 3-pointer of the night with 1:30 remaining in the game. That trey, which Pierce assisted on, gave Boston a 95-87 lead.
WAshington's interim head coach, Randy Wittman, who took over for Flip Saunders after he was ejected in the first quarter, made one of his smartest moves of the night just moments later. He called a momentum-stopping timeout that immediately turned the game around.
The Wizards trotted back onto the floor after that timeout and quickly got a slam dunk from Andray Blatche to slice the lead down to six. Boston then turned the ball over on a shot clock violation and Washington followed that up with a 15-foot jumper from John Wall. That bucket cut the Celtics’ lead all the way down to four with 51.9 seconds remaining.
With Washington seemingly back in the game after Wittman's strong coaching move, the Celtics were ready for another big shot. Allen already hit his, so now it was Pierce’s turn.
Doc Rivers called for a timeout and drew up an out-of-timeout play for his team to run on its biggest offensive play of the game. A basket likely meant a win, and anything else meant a very possible loss.
Boston went right into their bread and butter play just seconds into the ensuing possession, with Pierce and Kevin Garnett running a pick-and-roll from the left elbow. Things didn’t go exactly as planned, though, as Pierce came off of the screen and jumped into the air without a shot to take or a pass to make.
As the captain slowly came back down to the floor he floated a pass back out to the left wing hoping dearly that one of his teammates could corral it. The man who did so was Garnett, who outpaced JaVale McGee to the loose ball.
Garnett reeled it in and for a moment tried to get it over to Rajon Rondo, who was standing nearby. That idea was derailed by some great denial of the ball by Rondo’s defender. So Garnett had to look elsewhere, and that’s when he found Pierce spotted up behind the 3-point line near the top of the key.
The Big Ticket tossed a perfect pass out to Pierce and, with no one standing very close to him, No. 34 stepped into a 3-pointer with 30.7 seconds left on the clock. As a defender closed in on him at the point of release, Pierce turned his jumper into a rainbow by putting a ton of extra arc on it. That new arc only made the splash of the net that much sweeter.
Pierce’s shot dropped through the net to put Boston ahead by seven and that was all she wrote. Washington wasn’t able to cut the lead down to less than six points from that point on, sending the C’s to the .500 mark for the first time this season.
Key Box Score Line
We’ve already highlighted the fact that Ray Allen hasn’t lost his knack for hitting big shots. Now it’s time to highlight the fact that at times, he’s simply indefensible.
Allen was lights out against the Wizards tonight and finished with a team-high 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting. He was almost perfect from 3-point range, where he dropped six of his seven attempts through the net. Most of his buckets were no-doubters and left Allen oozing with confidence throughout the contest.
Boston outscored Washington by 13 points during the nearly 35 minutes that the all-time 3-point king was on the floor. Allen also pitched in two rebounds, two assists and one steal.
When Allen gets as hot as he was tonight, it’s nearly impossible to defend him. There’s no doubt that after two straight games of trying to slow him down, the Wizards are happy to be boarding a flight out of Boston tonight.
Box Score Nuggets
- Five Celtics scored in double-figures.
- Five Celtics grabbed at least six rebounds.
- Andray Blatche scored a game-high 28 points.
- Boston shot 10-of-20 from downtown, including a 6-of-7 performance by Ray Allen.
- Allen led the Celtics with 27 points.
- Paul Pierce led Boston with eight rebounds and also scored 21 points.
- Washington finished with 18 second-chance points.
- Brandon Bass impressed off the bench again with his 14 points and six rebounds.
- JaVale McGee was a thorn in Boston's side yet again, finishing with 17 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.
- Greg Stiemsma got his first career start and finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
- Rajon Rondo dished out a game-high 13 assists.
- Washington shot just 42.2 percent from the field.
- Pierce attempted a team-high 18 shots.
- All five of Allen's free throw attempts came via technical fouls. All five of those attempts were in the first quarter.
- Kevin Garnett had a solid night with 10 points, six rebounds and six assists
- Flip Saunders was ejected from the game for drawing two technical fouls just 1:46 after tip-off.
- There were 17 lead changes and 11 ties in the game.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers on making Greg Stiemsma believe he can shoot the basketball: "We had the silly day (of practice) where he wouldn’t shoot and I made him stand in front of the whole team and say, ‘My name is Greg Stiemsma. I’m a shooter.’ And we kept making him repeat it."