WASHINGTON, DC -  FEBRUARY 8: Otto Porter Jr. #22 of the Washington Wizards handles the ball during the game against the Boston Celtics on February 8, 2018 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC.
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Wizards fall in OT to Celtics, 110-104

Porter's 27, Wizards' late run in regulation not enough in OT loss
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The Wizards came back from down 10 points in the final five minutes of regulation and forced overtime on Thursday night, but the Celtics finished the Wizards in overtime to win 110-104. Otto Porter Jr. finished with 27 points and 11 rebounds on the night, and Kyrie Irving scored 28 points for the Celtics.

Porter led the Wizards with 14 points in the first half, while Bradley Beal scored 12 for Washington. Turnovers were an issue early for the Wizards with had 12 in the first half. The Wizards would finish with 22 turnovers that led to 24 Celtics points, but luckily for the Wizards, they would score 25 points on 17 Celtics turnovers as well.

Boston owned the third quarter, holding the Wizards to 7-of-21 (33.3%) shooting and five turnovers. All-Stars Irving and Al Horford started to heat up for the Celtics, scoring nine points each in the third. Considering the turnovers and missed opportunities by the Wizards in the first three quarters, they only trailed by five heading into the fourth.

The Celtics got to the free throw line at will in the fourth quarter, making 11-of-16 free throws. The Wizards couldn’t get anything going in the first six-plus minutes of the fourth, but found away to come alive with big plays by Tomas Satoransky and Markieff Morris.

The Wizards fought back late to put themselves in position to win after trailing by 10 with 5:23 to go. Fueled by a 20-10 run to close regulation in the final 4:57, the Wizards were suddenly right back in the game.

Kelly Oubre Jr.’s 3-pointer with 2:11 to go in the fourth quarter gave the Wizards a 92-91 lead and capped a 14-3 run. Marcus Morris, who made several tough shots on the night, made two free throws to give the Celtics back the lead with 1:48 left. The two teams switched off stops before Porter’s 18-foot pullup jumper gave the Wizards back the lead with 56.5 seconds left.

Markieff Morris made two free throws, then Kyrie Irving brought the game back within one point. Porter would make key free throws as the Wizards would go up 98-95 with 12.8 seconds left in regulation. Irving drew a foul on a 3-pointer with 9.8 seconds to go and would hit all three free throws to tie the game at 98. Beal could not connect to win the game in the Wizards’ final possession of regulation.

"We just kept fighting, kept playing for each other and gave us a chance," Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said postgame. "We had 22 turnovers for 24 points. That's hard to overcome and we just about overcame. We were up three with the foul at the end. They called foul, they got three free throws. He [Kyrie Irving] stepped up and made all three, and we had the last shot. I thought Brad [Beal] got knocked off balance. I thought he probably could have pulled up for the shot right there."

In overtime, the Celtics locked down the Wizards defensively, holding them to 2-of-12 shooting and two turnovers in the extra five-minute period. The Wizards had an opportunity on a fast break with the game tied at 103-103 and less than three minutes to go, but missed three straight layups to take advantage. Washington would finish with 13 second chance points, but only made 4-of-14 shots on second chance opportunities, with three of the missed shots coming in that pivotal possession. The Celtics would go on a 7-1 run from there on out, finishing off the Wizards.

"We fought, gave ourselves a chance to win, put them on the free throw line way too many times, and quite frankly we missed a lot of layups," Brooks added. "I'm assuming we missed probably 20-something shots inside the paint and that on top of the turnovers and they made shots. They made some big shots down the stretch and made some big plays down the stretch.”

Beal, who finished with 18 points and a career-high tying nine assists, was 7-of-27 from the field on the night. The first-time All-Star played 44-plus minutes and was driving to the basket all night, but only shot one free throw – a technical free throw.

“I'll give him credit," Brooks said of Beal. "He attacked. He didn't settle for jump shots the entire game. He attacked. He got one free throw. That's what he does. When you have a tough shooting night, you attack. That's what he's supposed to do. He's supposed to do what he does, and he couldn't get to the line.”

The Celtics’ defense clamped down on the Wizards in pivotal moments, but the way Washington fought back to close out the fourth quarter showed toughness and fight. Ultimately, Boston came up on top, but the Wizards reminded another opponent that they’re still going to compete every night even without John Wall.

With only two games to go until the All-Star break, the Wizards (31-24) head to Chicago to take on the Bulls at 8:00pm on Saturday.