Thursday, January 23, 2014

Celtics Edge Wizards in OT, 113-111

Bradley Beal shoots over Gerald Wallace & Kris Humphries

Last week, the Washington Wizards defeated the Chicago Bulls twice and the Miami Heat in a span of five days. Fantastic, right? Last night, these same Wizards hosted the 14-29 Boston Celtics at Verizon Center, losing a winnable game 113-111 in overtime before a crowd of 14,492. Not so fantastic. It's this kind of inconsistency (Washington lost for the fifth time this season, with a chance to top .500) that has Wizards' fans like yours truly, scratching their hands in frustration.

To make matters worse, the Wizards didn't bother to show up for the first half: Boston led 61-43 after two quarters, spearheaded by the home team's inability to score. Washington shot an anemic 37.2% from the field, led by John Wall (3-14, 11 points.) Wall's backcourt partner Bradley Beal fared even worse, scoring just four points with almost as many turnovers (two.) As a team, the Wizards shot 18.2% from beyond the arc. That's not going to cut it in the NBA.

Marcin Gortat (#4) scored 11 points with 13 rebounds

The Wizards made a game of it in the second half, turning on the headlights and outscoring the Celts 30-15 in the third quarter. Wall led the revival, hitting 3-4 shots (7 points) to go along with five assists & rebounds. The fourth-year star finished the game with the second triple-double of his career (28 points, 10 dimes & 11 rebounds) yet missed a whopping 20 of 29 shots (including 1 of 4 in a sluggish OT.) There goes that word again... inconsistency.

Meanwhile, the Celtics did everything right... despite playing shorthanded (Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley & Jerryd Bayless were all out) led by former Georgetown standout Jeff Green, who exploded for 39 points, nine rebounds and three steals. He also knocked down eight three-pointers (out of 16 attempts.) Undrafted 5'11 rookie Phil Pressey added 20 points in his second career start.

Nenê added 17 points in a losing cause

The Wizards had more than a few chances to win. The "Polish Hammer" Marcin Gortat (11 points, 13 rebounds) missed a free throw with 13.9 seconds left in OT that would have given his team a one-point lead. Nenê flubbed not one, but two game winners in regulation... both short jumpers (no Beal or Trevor Ariza?) To be fair, Nenê played well (17 points, nine rebounds) but game-winning jump shots are better made by... a "jump shooter," no? Coaching? I'll leave that alone until the off-season.

Washington slips to 20-21 at the halfway point of the season. They hit the road for a four-game trip out West to face Phoenix, Utah, Golden State & the Los Angeles Clippers, before returning home to face the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday, February 1st (followed by Portland & San Antonio.) Ouch. Take away Utah, and we're talking about six opponents with a combined record of 175-80 (thats a .686 winning percentage.) Double ouch. That's why winnable games like last night are so important.

Congrats to Michaela, on being named to All-Star Dance Team

Don't look now; but the once-lowly Brooklyn Nets (18-22) are just a game and a half behind Washington for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Also worth noting, the Wiz are now 10-11 at home. Not to sound desperate, but we traded our first rounder in next year's "Super Draft" to nab Gortat and win now. With relative good health, these Wizards should be better. Beat Phoenix on Friday night, and we're right back at .500. Fingers crossed.

Click here for last night's box score.