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Wizards win on Christmas Day over Celtics, 111-103
John Wall led the Wizards with 21 points and 14 assists in the win
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The Wizards used a 12-0 run late in the fourth quarter to beat the Celtics on Christmas Day, 111-103. In a playoff rematch from last season, two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference went back-and-forth all game. Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 25 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter. Teamed up with John Wall, who had 21 points and 14 assists, the Wizards backcourt was able to deliver the road win in a tough environment. Otto Porter Jr. added 20 points, Markieff Morris had 14, Marcin Gortat recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 16 off the bench. The Wizards won all of the hustle stats - a season-high 60 points in the paint, 18 second-chance points, 16 fast break points, and only nine turnovers - to secure the win.
In the first quarter, the Wizards were able to find a rhythm offensively, outscoring the Celtics 30-24. Beal had nine points as he played all 12 of the opening minutes, while Porter added seven points. The Celtics had four turnovers in the first quarter and only shot 9-of-21 (42.9%).
The Celtics, fueled by their home crowd, were able to overcome the Wizards' eight-point lead in the second quarter and bring the game to a 52-50 Wizards lead at the half. Jayson Tatum had eight points in the second quarter, while the Wizards received a boost from Gortat. The Polish big man would have eight points and six rebounds at the half, but it was what he did outside the box score in the first half that stood out. By taking charges, tipping out offensive rebounds, and setting screens, Gortat was a difference-maker against a smaller Celtics team.
"We didn't hang our heads down and we gave just continue to fight," Gortat said postgame. "We have to understand that we are a great team and we just got to bring it everyday."
The Wizards stayed the course in the third quarter, as both teams shot 45.5% and turned it over three times. The difference was Porter, who had 12 points in the third quarter on 4-of-5 shooting and grabbed four rebounds. Porter missed two-plus games last week due to a thigh bruise and hip issues, but he has been a big part of the team's last two wins. The Wizards would lead 80-76 heading into the fourth quarter, a familiar but nerve-racking feeling after having trouble closing wins in Boston last playoffs.
The Celtics started to take control of the game in the fourth, and Wall and Beal were called on to return to the game down two with 9:11 left in the game. The teams went back and forth until the score was 95-90 Celtics with 6:18 to go. That's when the Wizards went on their run.
Led by Wall and Beal, the Wizards finished the game with a 21-8 run, including a massive 12-0 run started by a tough Wall step back with the shot clocking expiring. Oubre hit a key 3-pointer, and the Wizards defense got the necessary stops and forced turnovers to take the lead back.
Beal scored 10 of his 25 in the fourth, while Wall passed or assisted on 20 of the team's 26 points once he re-entered the game. The Wizards were crashing the boards and made 8-of-12 field goals in the final 6:56, while the Celtics did not have a defensive rebound in that time span. Washington was simply grabbing all of the loose balls, leading to 10 fourth quarter second chance points. It was the team's extra effort and willingness to win that won them the game.
"We just got to realize that if we play like this every night we are going to be capable of winning every game," Beal said.
The Celtics made a lot of very tough shots, but the Wizards defense was locked in, and offensive rebounds won the game. The usual suspects starred on national television and executed down the stretch, but as Scott Brooks said postgame, the efforts by Porter, Morris, Gortat, and Oubre were key down the stretch. Morris finished with 14 points and seven rebounds on 5-of-7 shooting, while Oubre made 7-of-13 field goals.
"[You] always look at John and Brad and how well they play and how many big plays they make," Brooks said, "[but] you win games with other guys stepping up."
"You have to do this for 82 games and not let the ups and downs of a long season control your emotions or your energy and I thought tonight was as good as we could possibly play.”
"This win means a lot to us," Porter said. "It’s Boston, on Christmas. It couldn’t get no better than that."
The Wizards won their first game in Boston since April 2014 after losing nine in a row including playoffs. The two teams will square off for the second time this season on February 8th in D.C. The Wizards (19-15) head to Atlanta next to play the Hawks Wednesday at 7:30pm.