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Celtics top Wizards in Boston, 140-133
Despite 44 points from Bradley Beal and another efficient scoring night from Rui Hachimura, the Wizards (2-7) fell 140-133 to the Boston Celtics (9-1) Wednesday night at TD Garden in the first leg of a three-game road trip.
“We’re going to fight, we’re going to continue to play hard, but we’ve got to play a little better on the defensive end,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said. “We’ve got to play smarter. Guys aren’t trying to make mistakes and that’s what I love about our guys is they’re trying to play the right way. They’re trying to pick things up as quickly as they can but it’s going to take time.”
Beal’s 40-point game, which came on 17-27 (.629) from the field and 4-6 (.667) from 3-point range, marked his second of the season and the 14th of his career. Beal joins Rockets guard James Harden as the only players this season with multiple games with at least 40 points, five rebounds and five assists.
After leading 68-66 at halftime, the Celtics came out of the locker room hot, hitting their first nine shots, opening up a double-digit lead just minutes into the third quarter. The Wizards countered, cutting the lead to just four with a 9-0 run capped by Beal’s third 3-pointer of the night.
The Wizards trailed by 16 at two different points in the final seven minutes of the game, but 13 fourth quarter points from Beal and a 12-0 Washington run keyed by Hachimura and Thomas Bryant pulled the game back within striking distance. A Bryant free throw cut the deficit to four with 1:17 remaining, Kemba Walker, who led Boston with 25 points, hit his sixth 3-pointer of the night to ice the Boston victory. With the loss, the Wizards have now dropped four consecutive games to the Celtics.
“If we continue to work and continue to figure out what we’re not doing right and correcting those things, we can be a better defensive team,” Wizards guard Isaiah Thomas said. “But until then, it’s going to be hard to win if we are giving up 140 points in regulation.”
The Wizards made a determined effort to attack the rim early and often, scoring a season-high 64 points in the paint, taking advantage of a Celtics frontcourt playing without Daniel Theis and Robert Williams III, who accounted for most of Boston’s frontcourt minutes over the first nine games of the season and both missed the game due to injury.
Thomas, making his first start in Boston since being traded from the Celtics in 2017, hit a pull-up jumper on Washington’s first offensive possession of the game, his first of 18 points on 7-14 (.500) shooting to go along with a team-high seven assists.
Despite getting into early foul trouble, Hachimura hit his first four baskets on his way to scoring 21 points on 9-12 (.750) shooting – his third 20-point game of the season and third shooting at least 70% from the field.
Walker’s 25-point night was one of three 20-point Boston performances. Jayson Tatum (23) and Jaylen Brown (22) each surpassed the mark as well, each dishing out four assists. The Celtics shot 51% from the field and 44% from 3-point range and outrebounded Washington 44-36.
While not at their normal near-league-leading rate, the Wizards bench produced on Wednesday behind 12 points from Moritz Wagner and nine points and a career-high 10 rebounds from Davis Bertans.
The Wizards continue their three-game road trip in Minneapolis on Friday night, taking on the Timberwolves (7-4), who have won three of their last four games, at 8:00 P.M. ET at the Target Center.