Put yourself in Brad Stevens’ shoes. You need a game-winning basket in the final seconds of an overtime game in Washington. You’re in the middle of a timeout with possession of the ball.
One seat on your bench is occupied by a man, Jeff Green, who has scored 39 points on the night and electrified the arena. Another seat is occupied by one of the league’s elite jump-shooting big men, Brandon Bass. Then you’ve got Jared Sullinger, who is emerging as one of the top sophomores in the NBA.
Who is it that you go to? Is it Green? Is it Bass? Is it Sullinger?
You probably didn’t even think about Gerald Wallace. Stevens did.
“Gerald is a forceful driver," Stevens said, "So he's going to get to where he wants to go.”
Yeah, you could say that. Wallace wanted to get to the basket on the game's final play and he did exactly that. After taking the ball up the court, Wallace forced his way down the right side of the lane and put home a right-handed layup through contact with 2.5 seconds remaining on the clock. The bucket put the Celtics on top 113-111 and stood as the game-winning basket after John Wall missed a desperation jumper at the buzzer.
Was there an element of surprise to this play? Sure. That was probably part of it. But Stevens was confident in using Wallace as his secret, game-winning option, and that confidence paid off with a win.
Key Box Score Line
A reporter asked Jeff Green after the game if there is a high level of comfort for him in playing at the Verizon Center, where he played during his days with the Georgetown Hoyas.
“Of course,” he replied. “My old locker is right down the hall. I lived 10 minutes from here. There's a lot of comfort here.”
Green certainly looked like a man who was comfortable Wednesday night as he led the Celtics to an impressive road victory over the hot Washington Wizards. Green put up a season-high 39 points against Washington thanks to an incredible shooting performance from all over the court.
Take a look at Green’s shot chart on this page. It’s fitting for him, because it’s filled with green.
The dynamic wing shot better than the league average in seven of the nine locations on the floor in which he attempted a shot. He wound up shooting 14-of-26 from the field and 8-of-16 from 3-point range. Yes, 8-of-16 from 3-point range!. To put that into perspective, Green has only attempted more than 16 field goals in seven games this season. He fired up 16 treys in this game and nailed half of them.
In order to make a performance great, one needs to do more than score. Green did exactly that by hauling in nine boards, grabbing three steals and blocking a shot.
Box Score Nuggets
- Boston's largest lead was 19 points, while Washington's was three.
- All five of Washington's starters scored in double-figures, led by 28 points from John Wall.
- Wall tallied a triple-double consisting of 28 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
- The Celtics scored 61 points in the first half after scoring 86 total points Tuesday night in Miami.
- The Celtics scored 21 fast break points.
- Jeff Green scored a season-high 39 points while making eight of his 16 3-pointers.
- Both teams committed 18 turnovers.
- Wall's 13 free throw attempts were more than double the amount attempted by any individual Celtics player.
- Gerald Wallace led the Celtics with nine assists.
- Jared Sullinger recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
- Green scored 11 more points than Wall despite attempting three less shots.
- Six players logged at least three steals in the game, led by four each by Wallace and Chris Johnson.
Quote of the Night
I never had any doubt that I was going to win that jump ball. I feel like my athletic ability, I can put that against anybody. Phil Pressey on beating John Wall in a jump ball