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FINAL: WIZARDS 115 | CELTICS 112
WIZARDS: Bradley Beal (36), Spencer Dinwiddie (20), Montrezl Harrell (20)
CELTICS: Jaylen Brown (34), Jayson Tatum (27), Josh Richardson (18)
The Wizards improved to 5-1 on the season with a back-and-forth, 115-112 double-overtime win over the Celtics on Saturday night at Capital One Arena, giving the team its best start since the 2005-06 season. Bradley Beal scored a game-high 36 points to lead the way for the Wizards while Spencer Dinwiddie and Montrezl Harrell each added 20 points of their own. Washington has now won three consecutive games overall and currently holds the best record in the Eastern Conference.
Beal got the Wizards started, scoring seven of the team’s first nine points and helping Washington to an early seven-point lead. He accounted for four of the team’s eight field goals in the first quarter and two of their three 3-pointers. The only non-Beal triple of the opening frame came from Davis Bertans, who converted a four-point play while falling out of bounds. On the first possession of the second quarter, Dinwiddie found Harrell for an alley-oop dunk, putting Washington up 27-20. The Wizards led for the entire quarter, but were not able to take full advantage of an ice cold first half from the Celtics. Boston missed each of the 15 triples it attempted before halftime. The Celtics managed to stay within single digits thanks to 17 first-half points from Jaylen Brown. Washington led 53-47 at the break.
Both offenses came out of halftime cold and combined for just 49 points in the third. Brown played the entire quarter, scored 10 points and helped propel the Celtics to a 71-70 lead late in the third, their first since the opening minutes of the first. With nine minutes left in the game, Boston knocked down its first 3-pointer of the night, snapping a streak of 20 consecutive misses to start the game. With the game tied at 96 with just over two minutes to go, Kyle Kuzma buried a 3-pointer in transition – and Beal knocked down a free throw granted due to an off-ball foul – to put Washington up four. A Boston three and Dinwiddie driving layup on ensuing possessions set the score at 102-99. After Harrell drew an offensive foul the next time down the court, Boston called a timeout with 90 seconds left in the game. Consecutive buckets in the final minute from Brown turned a three-point Boston deficit to a one-point lead. With 20 seconds left in the game and Beal face-guarded, Dinwiddie missed, but grabbed his own rebound and reset. On a second driving attempt, he drew a foul and knocked down one of two free throws, tying the game at 103 with 3.8 seconds left. Brown had a mid-range look at the end of regulation for Boston, but missed, sending the game to overtime.
Between the fourth quarter and the start of overtime, Washington went over 4:19 without a made field goal. Capped by a Tatum mid-range jumper, the Celtics started the overtime period on a 6-0 run, presenting the Wizards with the same deficit they faced in their earlier overtime matchup with the Pacers earlier this season. Once again, the Wizards rallied, tying the game at 109 two minutes later on a driving layup from Beal and forcing a second overtime. With 1:16 left in the second overtime, Deni Avdija was called for a shooting foul, but had the call overturned upon review, giving the Wizards the ball. Beal took advantage, converting on a sprinting layup to put Washington up 113-112 with a minute left. After a defensive stop, Dinwiddie scored on a pump-and-drive to give the Wizards a 115-112 lead with 20 seconds left. In the final seconds, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope stripped Brown’s attempt at a game-tying three to seal the win.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
Beal leads the way for Washington
Coming off his best performance of the season – a 27-point, eight-rebound and eight-assist game against the Hawks – Beal upped his game once again. Beal’s 36 points set a new season high and came by way of three triples and a 9-9 (1.000) night at the line, including two crucial free throws in overtime. Beal opened and closed the night strong. He played the entire first quarter, scoring 12 points – and scored eight of the Wizards’ 12 points in the two overtime periods combined.
Harrell, Kuzma step up with Gafford out
For the second-consecutive game, the Wizards were playing without starting center Daniel Gafford, who continues to recover from a right quad contusion suffered in Washington’s Wednesday matchup with Boston. Harrell again got the start in Gafford’s place, totaling 20 points and 14 rebounds in 35 minutes of action. Harrell has now recorded 20-point double-doubles in three consecutive games. When Harrell went to the bench, Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. relied mostly on Kyle Kuzma to man the front court. Kuzma played a team-high 48 minutes and continued a remarkable rebounding streak to start the season, grabbing a career-high 17 boards to go along with 17 points. Kuzma notched eight of those rebounds in the first half alone and now has at least eight boards in each game this season.
Brown goes big for Boston
Missing starting point guard Marcus Smart and working to overcome a cold shooting night from Jayson Tatum, the Celtics relied heavily on Brown’s offensive production. He started the night 4-4 (1.000) and scored eight of the team’s first 12 points on his way to a 34-point performance. Tatum struggled from the field, shooting 10-32 (.312), but finished the night with 27 points and 15 rebounds.