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Celtics topple Wizards in season finale, 116-110
In their last game of the 2018-19 season, the Wizards closed a disappointing year with a valiant effort on their home floor Tuesday night. The Celtics just finished stronger on the night despite being depleted themselves with a combination of rest and injury in preparation for the postseason. Terry Rozier’s 21 points led the way for Boston as it took down Washington, 116-110.
Bradley Beal was limited to 16 minutes of play as the Wizards rested their two-time All-Star for the majority of the night, but not before he collected 16 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Those numbers, particularly the rebounds, were significant in that they made him the first player in Washington franchise history to average 25 points, five rebounds, and five assists for a single season. Beal’s start also marked another year of perfect attendance in the Wizards’ starting five, the second straight season in which he started every game.
The Celtics played Tuesday without Aron Baynes, Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Marcus Morris, and Marcus Smart as they prepare for the first round of the playoffs. Washington were was without Trevor Ariza, Jordan McRae, and Jabari Parker, while Troy Brown Jr. left the game with hamstring tightness after logging just over seven minutes.
Beal caught fire from the start and led the Wizards to a strong start, scoring 14 points as his team took a 39-25 lead through one quarter after leading by as many as 21. They doubled up the Celtics on the boards in the opening frame and went on to out-rebound Boston 58-50 on the night. Thomas Bryant added nine of his 14 points in the frame as the Wizards shot 60% from the field and hit six 3-pointers.
Boston stormed back with the help of 10 points from Rozier in the second quarter, tallying a 38-point quarter of their own to cut the Wizards’ lead to one at the half. But the Wizards continued to punch back, with Tomas Satoransky scoring 12 of his team-high 19 points in the third to help Washington carry a six-point lead into the fourth quarter.
There, the Wizards couldn’t find a way to keep the momentum going. They shot just 19.2% from the field in the final 12 minutes, allowing the Celtics to re-take the lead and go up as many as 10 in the frame. Boston outscored Washington 27-15 in the fourth thanks to a trio of Semi Ojeleye, RJ Hunter and Brad Wanamaker, all of whom scored 17 points on the night. The field goal discrepancy down the stretch proved to be the difference in an otherwise evenly played game.
Tuesday also served as another opportunity for two-way player Devin Robinson to make a final impression going into the offseason. He logged 30 minutes of run on the night, scoring 14 points to go with five rebounds. Bobby Portis and Ian Mahinmi joined him in double-figures with 11 points apiece, with Mahinmi adding 12 rebounds and Portis nabbing eight boards.
“It was tough year," said head coach Scott Brooks. "But we battled and a lot of good things happened throughout this tough year. Nobody complained about all the good players that didn’t play. Guys stepped up… TB [Thomas Bryant], Troy [Brown Jr.] had a nice little stretch, Bobby [Portis], and Jabari [Parker], and then Brad [Beal]. Brad has really come along. I’ve said it many times, when you have a tough year, the leadership has to step up and he has. Played hard throughout the season, didn’t come away with enough wins to make the playoffs. Like I said, we fought we battled, and it’s part of the NBA journey, that you have to go through years like this to appreciate the better years to come.”
An important offseason lies ahead for the Wizards, as they’ll now look ahead to the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday, May 14 to find out where they will pick in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft.