Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 89, Wizards 86

Ford Keys to the Game

Celtics 89, Wizards 86

Game Highlights

Photo of the Game

Brandon Bass, Jordan Crawford, Kevin Garnett

Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett team up to challenge Jordan Crawford's shot during Saturday night's game in Washington, D.C.
Ned Dishman/NBAE/Getty

Key Moment

The Washington Wizards made things interesting, but the Boston Celtics weren’t losing this game. No way. No how.

Boston jumped out to a 17-2 lead to begin the game and led by as many as 16 points in the first quarter of Saturday’s contest. The Wizards, however, were able to fight all the way back from this deficit and actually took an 86-84 lead when Kevin Seraphin hit a 12-foot, turnaround jumper with 2:56 remaining in the game.

Then Paul Pierce showed everyone that he’s a cold-blooded animal.

Rajon Rondo found Pierce on the very next possession standing 25 from the basket on the right wing. Rondo hit Pierce with a perfect pass and the captain pulled the trigger on a deep 3. From the second it left his fingers, he knew for sure it was going through. It actually looked as if he knew the ball wouldn’t even graze the rim.

Pierce began back-pedaling immediately after he released the shot and the ball swished through the net to put Boston on top 87-86 with 2:35 remaining. That was all the Celtics needed to hop into the win column this season, because their defense took care of the rest.

Boston’s defense turned into a brick wall over the final few minutes of the game, getting critical stop after critical stop. Washington did not score a point over the final 2:55 of regulation despite having plenty of opportunities.

Kevin Garnett forced Seraphin into a turnover with 28.2 seconds left in the game and then the C’s defended an inbound play perfectly with 4.5 seconds remaining to seal the victory. Washington could have taken a lead with a basket on either of those possessions.

The Celtics used old reliable, their defense, to seal Saturday’s game, but it was Pierce who gave the defense that opportunity. His no-doubter from 25 feet out was undoubtedly the biggest shot of this early season for Boston.

Key Box Score Line

Paul Pierce didn’t only get it done Saturday night with the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:35 remaining, he got it done all night.

Pierce played less than 35 minutes but managed to rack up a game-high 27 points against the Wizards. He shot 10-of-22 from the field and hit four of his eight 3-point attempts. Pierce also tied for the Celtics lead in rebounding with seven boards on the night.

And talk about consistency. Pierce’s scoring broke down like this: seven points in the first quarter, five in the second quarter, seven in the third quarter, and eight in the fourth quarter. He got it done all night long and didn’t allow his production to sag. That’s just what the Celtics needed to pace them to their first victory of the season.

Box Score Nuggets

  • The Celtics opened up the game with a 17-2 run.
  • Paul Pierce scored a game-high 27 points and tied for the team high in rebounds with seven.
  • Pierce, Jared Sullinger and Kevin Garnett each tied for the team high in rebounds with seven apiece.
  • Washington (43.6 percent) actually outshot the Celtics (42.9 percent) from the field.
  • Washington's bench scored 62 of its 86 points, led by 21 from Jordan Crawford and 19 from Kevin Seraphin.
  • Boston's bench totaled 27 points, led by Jeff Green's 11.
  • Rajon Rondo grabbed another double-double with 12 points and 12 assists.
  • The Celtics committed just nine turnovers in the game.
  • Boston's scoring decreased in every quarter: 26 in the first, 23 in the second, 22 in the third, 18 in the fourth.
  • Trevor Booker notched a double-double for Washington with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
  • None of Washington's players logged more than 30 minutes of playing time, while three Celtics did.
  • The Wizards led for a total of 21 seconds in the game.