Final: Wizards 85, Celtics 83. Paul Pierce has made countless game-winning jumpers before for the Celtics. But this time, it's not to be. The captain misses the game-winner, and the Wizards emerge with a shocking 85-83 victory over the C's on their home floor.
Pierce finishes with only 12 points, and the C's lose to a Wizards team that gets 18 from Rashard Lewis and a ridiculous game-winning jumper from John Wall. The Wiz emerge victorious after an ugly, ugly fourth quarter, and the Celtics' five-game winning streak comes to a screeching halt.
The C's are now headed home to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night. They'll look to get back on track against the NBA's worst team.
Fourth quarter, 43.5 seconds, Wizards 84-81: Paul Pierce is clearly frustrated with the no-call as he draws contract from Andray Blatche. But Glen Davis keeps the C's alive, getting an offensive rebound and calling a timeout in the nick of time.
Nice hustle play by Big Baby.
But can the C's get a bucket?
Fourth quarter, 57.7 seconds, Wizards 84-81: Who said John Wall didn't have a jump shot? The No. 1 overall pick drills a ridiculous bank-shot 3 from the wing, and the Wiz have unbelievably taken a three-point lead with under a minute to play.
Rajon Rondo has done a decent job of neutralizing Wall all night, but Wall just broke through with the biggest shot of the game.
Can the Wizards keep this lead? The Celtics are far from dead.
Fourth quarter, 1:21, 81-81: The Wizards momentarily grab their first lead of the game at 81-79, but Glen Davis gets a nice bucket inside off a Paul Pierce assist. We're tied once again.
Fourth quarter, 2:45, 79-79: Paul Pierce is back in the game with five fouls. He wants to be aggressive to keep the heat on the Wizards, but he's got to be careful about getting whistle No. 6.
It's a fine line. He's got to straddle it perfectly if the C's are to get enough stops to pull this one out.
Fourth quarter, 3:29, 79-79: Andray Blatche is the one guy still playing with energy and getting good looks. He ties the ballgame at 79.
Kevin Garnett needs to kick it up a notch defensively. He's got to shut Blatche down.
Fourth quarter, 4:49, 77-77: The Wizards have had countless chances to take the lead in this game, and they haven't yet come through. JaVale McGee misses the go-ahead free throw in a tie game, and all of Boston exhales.
The C's still haven't trailed, and they led the Jazz from wire to wire Friday, too. It's impressive, but can it last?
Fourth quarter, 5:23, Celtics 77-76: It's now been over three minutes since either team scored a point.
Missed layups and ugly jump shots are at an all-time high. Whichever team snaps out of it first and plays smart, efficient offense will win this game.
Fourth quarter, 6:47, Celtics 77-76: You know things are bad when Ray Allen, of all people, goes up for a dunk and misses.
The C's are making all kinds of mistakes in a close game that they should be winning by 20. This must be maddening for Doc Rivers.
Fourth quarter, 8:46, Celtics 77-74: Nate Robinson charges into the lane and knocks down a running floater. The C's lead is now three.
That's the good news for the C's. The bad is that Paul Pierce just picked up his fifth foul.
Now Doc Rivers is in a bind. Does he pull the captain out now and save him for crunch time, or does he ride the wave and try to milk a few buckets out of him now?
Fourth quarter, 10:29, Celtics 73-72: Paul Pierce missed almost the entire third quarter due to foul trouble. He should have plenty of energy left in the tank to play the fourth.
It looks like Doc Rivers wants Pierce to play the whole quarter from start to finish. He needs a clutch scorer to gut this win out.
End of third quarter, Celtics 72-70: The Celtics still haven't trailed in this game, technically. But the Wizards do battle all the way back to tie it at 70 before Nate Robinson nails a jumper on the C's final possession of the third quarter.
The Celtics need to stop Rashard Lewis and JaVale McGee in the fourth quarter. Both guys are seeing the points come way too easy.
In recent weeks, we've seen a few games where the C's flip the switch and suddenly start putting stops together in the fourth quarter. This might be another one of those.
Third quarter, 2:40, Celtics 68-62: Ray Allen connects on a 3 — he's now matching his former teammate Lewis with a game-high 16 points, and the Celtics are again up six.
Ray's now 23 treys away from tying Reggie Miller. The countdown continues.
Third quarter, 3:56, Celtics 65-62: Scary stat: The Wizards are within three points in this game despite their hottest scorer, Nick Young, being 0-for-8.
Imagine what the Wiz could do if Young were clicking.
The C's offense has been lazy since the first quarter. One pass, one quick jump shot, no efficiency. They need ball movement and penetration.
Third quarter, 6:01, Celtics 63-59: Rashard Lewis has torched the Celtics countless times before — in an Orlando Magic uniform, that is. Now he's doing his thing in Wizards threads.
Two free throws from Lewis cut the Celtics' lead to a dangerously thin four. Lewis now has 16 points, a game high. He's really feeling it.
Third quarter, 7:23, Celtics 63-54: Maybe someday, Glen Davis will have taken so many charges that officials just give him the benefit of the doubt and call it every time. But not quite yet.
Cartier Martin runs into Big Baby and gets two free throws. The Wiz have a chance to cut into the Celtics' lead once again.
Third quarter, 9:17, Celtics 60-54: Double trouble for the Celtics — first Paul Pierce picks up his fourth foul for hacking JaVale McGee in (debatably) the act of shooting, and then second McGee hits the two free throws. The Wizards are back to within six.
The C's will try to sustain their lead without Pierce on the floor. Marquis Daniels is entering the game in his place.
Third quarter, 11:16, Celtics 56-48: There's that blazing John Wall speed. The Wizards' rookie gets a stop and takes it coast to coast for a layup. The Wizards are within eight.
If Wall can step up his game and outplay Rondo in the second half, the Wizards have a real shot at this thing.
Halftime, Celtics 56-46: The Wizards get a nice offensive uptick from JaVale McGee and Rashard Lewis in the second quarter, but they're still down by double digits. The C's are just getting too many easy buckets.
The C's get 11 points from Kevin Garnett and 10 from Ray Allen; the Wiz get 12 from Lewis and 11 from McGee. But the Celtics have been the deeper, more versatile team, and their effort has been more consistent. They've led from wire to wire.
In fact, the C's haven't trailed in a game since Wednesday. Let's see how long that keeps up.
Second quarter, 2:31, Celtics 51-44: JaVale McGee gets a wide-open look at a mid-range jumper, and he knocks it down with ease. The Celtics can't let him have that shot so easily.
Blatche is now 5-for-7 from the field for 11 points. The Wizards are back to within seven, and the C's defense has looked a little haphazard in this second quarter. They've got to keep moving to close out on shooters.
Second quarter, 5:00, Celtics 44-36: The bad blood is still simmering between Kevin Garnett and Andray Blatche. Every single possession is a shoving match.
What's more important, though, is that Blatche's production is nonexistent. The youngster is shooting 1-for-6 with two points and zero rebounds. He's getting dominated.
Second quarter, 5:58, Celtics 44-32: The Wizards are still down by double digits, and they're getting frustrated. Andray Blatche mouths off a bit too much and quickly picks up a technical.
This is a welcome change from last season, when the Celtics were the team losing their composure in this matchup. Back in the old days, they used to have problems with the "young, athletic" characters like Blatche. No longer.
Second quarter, 7:48, Celtics 41-28: As the shot clock wanes, we see a nice little jolt of aggression from Marquis Daniels. 'Quis drives to the basket, draws contact, and finishes the three-point play.
It's tantalizing, because he's capable of doing it more often. Daniels has always been quietly efficient, but he has the potential to be a slashing scorer with more regularity.
Second quarter, 10:06, Celtics 37-26: The Wizards open the second quarter on a 6-2 run, and Doc Rivers looks a wee bit exasperated with his bench guys. Von Wafer gets the early axe, and Paul Pierce retakes the floor early.
The lead has shrunk from 15 to 11. If Pierce can knock down a couple shots, the C's can push it back in no time.
End of first quarter, Celtics 35-20: We may only be 12 minutes in, but Doc Rivers and Flip Saunders are already emptying their benches like it's garbage time. And with a 15-point Celtic lead already, why not?
We've had a Von Wafer sighting, a Kevin Seraphin sighting, even an Yi Jianlian sighting.
The C's have gotten 10 points from Ray Allen, seven from Rajon Rondo and six from Paul Pierce to fuel the big lead. As a team, they've made 15 of their first 22 shots.
First quarter, 2:10, Celtics 29-15: John Wall has a new backup, and his name is Mustafa Shakur. Never heard of him? Well, you're not alone.
Shakur looks to be a solid athlete, at least so far — he's using his Wall-like speed to run all over the floor and wreak havoc against the older Celtics. Shakur has totaled two points, a rebound, an assist and a block in his first couple minutes. Not bad.
First quarter, 4:26, Celtics 24-11: The Celtics couldn't ask for a much better start. They're shooting 10-for-13 on one end; they're completely stifling Blatche and McGee on the other. Ray Allen already has 10 points; Rajon Rondo's got five assists.
The C's are looking to turn this back-to-back weekend into back-to-back blowouts.
First quarter, 5:28, Celtics 22-11: Quietly, Semih Erden is beginning another active, aggressive performance as the Celtics' center. He's keeping a body on JaVale McGee, he's crashing the boards, and he even had a nice reverse layup for his first two points.
Doc Rivers is about to dip into his reserves to pull Semih out, bringing in Glen Davis as the first man off the bench.
First quarter, 7:58, Celtics 14-6: Ray Allen gets to the line and drains two. Make it six points for Pierce and six for Allen. The C's wings are lighting it up.
The Celtics are 5-for-7 from the field; the Wizards are 3-for-7.
First quarter, 9:31, Celtics 8-2: Paul Pierce gets an offensive rebound, stands alone in the corner, and waits almost an eternity before lofting up a wide-open 3. If the Wizards keep letting Pierce have that shot, he'll take it every time.
Looks like another strong start for the captain. He's got a pair of early treys.
First quarter, 11:26, Celtics 2-0: The C's open the ballgame with a stop, and Ray Allen connects on a mid-range jumper to give them a 2-0 lead on their first possession.
The C's look active on offense early on, setting hard picks and screens to free up shooters.
Can they sustain this energy all night? It's never easy on the second night of a back-to-back.
6 p.m.: The Celtics may be without Shaquille O'Neal as they take on the Wizards on Saturday night, but life could be a lot worse than having Semih Erden in the starting role.
As you might remember, Erden enjoyed four games in the starting lineup last month when both "O'Neal brothers" went down, and the C's won all four contests. The young Turk's numbers over that stretch: 34 total points, 13 rebounds, 13-of-18 shooting from the field. Not terribly overwhelming, but Erden was quietly efficient without trying to play beyond his role.
The Celtic way is all about not trying to do too much as an individual. The rookie has already figured that out.
8 a.m.: The Celtics wrapped up their six-game homestand with a bang on Friday night, taking it to the visiting Utah Jazz in a 110-86 rout. The win makes them 21-3 at home this season, including 8-1 in the 2011 calendar year.
But all good things must come to an end, and the Celtics must now put the successful home stretch behind them and board a plane to the nation's capital. The C's will take on the Washington Wizards at 7 p.m. Saturday.
On paper, it looks like an easy win for the C's. They've won five straight games, they look bulletproof, and they're taking on a Wiz team that's lost three of its last five games, 10 of its last 15 and 17 of its last 23.
But the win is no gimme — the C's have had trouble in recent years with young athletic teams like the Wizards, especially on the road, and especially on the second night of a back-to-back. Coming off an impressive blowout win over the Jazz, the Celtics have to remain focused. This one has "trap game" written all over it.
The Celtics will likely be without Shaquille O'Neal, who went down in the first quarter Friday night with a sore leg and will probably stay home from Washington. In Shaq's place, you'll see plenty of Semih Erden, who dropped a career-high 14 points Friday with extended minutes.
The C's continue to fight off the injury bug practically every time out there, but they keep pulling out wins. On Saturday night, they'll look to get another.