|Notes and Observations Week 16: Patriots Escape from New York with 17-16 Win; Clinch First Round Bye.||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Win By Less Than a FOOT||Panic Mode in Full Effect, Minutemen are Struggling||Patriots Survive Gritty Challenge From Jets|
Boston sports fans’ collective mood was definitely left with a sour taste Saturday night. The Patriots did advance to the AFC Championship Game after a 31-20 victory, but the Celtics could not complete the Boston sports sweep, falling to the Washington Wizards 85-78. Kevin Garnett led the C’s with 19 points and just 6 rebounds.
Speaking of rebounding, the Wizards did a lot of that during the C’s second game in as many nights. Washington out-rebounded the Celtics 49-30, headed by Antawn Jamison’s 16 rebounds. Caron Butler contributed 10 rebounds and as a team, the Wizards had an astounding 20 offensive rebounds.
If the Celtics aren’t going to shoot well (41.3% on Saturday), they’ll need to collect a good amount of offensive rebounds. In this game, they managed to nab 7 offensive boards, but clearly not enough to overcome the rebound deficit. I will say that I wouldn’t be sitting here, complaining about the lack of rebounding if we managed to hold our lead in the last 2 minutes.
The Wizards just played better fundamental basketball. I’ve mentioned the domination on the boards, but it goes further than that. To the Celtics’ credit, the Wiz only shot 36.8% overall and an atrocious 11.1% (2-18) from 3-point range. But, the Wizards got to the line 30 times and sunk 27 free throws (90%), including a perfect 8-8 from the line by DeShawn Stevenson. The Celtics hit a decent 17 of 23 from the line, but the Wizards scored 10 more points at the free throw line, leading to the 7-point win.
At least the team has one full day to think about this little funk they’re in. If it’s any consolation, they’ll get a chance to exact revenge right away as they play the 19-16 Wizards for the second game in a row on Monday. There’s still not too much to complain about as the Celtics are 30-5. Let’s hope the extra day of rest will get Rajon Rondo back in the lineup and get that record to 31-5.