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I don’t like it any more than you do. With both O’Neals, Shaq and Jermaine, out with knee troubles, the Celtics needed to come out strong. They did the opposite, and due to a hungry John Wall and Co, their own complacency and a few bad calls here and there, the Celtics lost to the Wizards 85-83. That’s not what you want from a team that quickly jumped out to a 16-point lead. Or from a team that beat these same Wizards (albeit without Wall) by 31 points earlier in the season.
Boston was already up 24-11 when Glen Davis took his 43rd charge of the season, to extend his NBA lead. With multiple 16-point leads in the quarter, Boston ended the 1st up 35-20, and looked well on their way to a victory. But not so fast…
Washington was inching a little closer in the 2nd when, with 6:50 left in the half, Paul Pierce was called for a 5-second violation. For those of you who don’t know about that particular type of violation (and you shouldn’t), you can’t dribble with your back to the hoop for five seconds in a row. Ray Allen even missed a technical free throw 52 seconds later, which is always a bad sign for the Celtics.
With Washington slowly but surely progressing, Kevin Garnett stole the ball from Rashard Lewis with 2:07 left, but Glen Davis missed a shot after 19 seconds. Boston managed to keep the lead at 10 heading into the half, but you could tell Boston was starting to crack.
Washington got the lead to six before Ray Allen’s three put Boston up 63-54. Glen Davis helped out by taking yet another charge, but was called for blocking in a blatant blown call with 7:23 left in the quarter. Washington cut the lead all the way to 63-62 before Kevin Garnett gave Boston its first points in 3:48 with a jumper. Boston re-opened a six-point lead, but Washington tied it at 70 with 26.9 seconds left; the last tie was 2-2. Boston did sneak in a bucket before the quarter’s end, but still.
Boston led 77-76 following John Wall’s jump shot with 8:42 remaining in the game, and for the longest time, neither team could buy even a point. For 3:53, both sides kept missing shot after shot until Davis was called for a shooting foul on Washington’s alley oop attempt. The problem was that Davis’ foul was clearly on the catch; no shooting motion or attempt whatsoever occurred. Javale McGee made one of two to keep Washington not ahead.
Then, with 2:35 remaining, Wall gave Washington its first lead of the night, 81-79. He also banked in a three with 57.7 seconds left to put Washington up 84-81. Boston got within one, and then Rajon Rondo stole the ball with 18.8 seconds left, allowing Boston to attempt the last shot of the game, the potential game-winner. Pierce missed it with 1.7 seconds left, and by the time the timeout-less Celtics were able to foul (.4 seconds left), it was much too late.
Several Celtics had one good stat each, but nobody did anything special to stand out.
When the Celtics get an opponent they should beat easily, they always seem to phone it in. It always makes the game close, and makes the Celtics lose from time to time.
“Yi went, ‘Yo!'” – Tommy Heinsohn, after Garnett ran past Yi Jianlian for an alley oop with 58.9 seconds left in the 2nd.