With playoff implications on the line, the Boston Celtics turned in a gritty performance, defeating the Washington Wizards 110-102 at TD Garden on Monday night.
In typical fashion, Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 25 points, while Avery Bradley (20 points, nine rebounds) also had a solid night. Al Horford and Jae Crowder both turned in 16-point, nine-rebound nights to help the C’s earn the victory. Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 19 points.
Boston’s victory evened the season series with Washington at 2-2, which very well could pay dividends in the postseason. The Celtics also extended their lead over the Wizards to two games for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
With the win, Boston improves to 45-26, while Washington drops to 42-28.
Here’s how it all went down.
PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Jae Crowder
PF: Amir Johnson
C: Al Horford
The Celtics held a narrow 30-28 lead after one quarter. Both teams’ offenses were powered by their shooting guards early on, as Bradley and Beal both got off to hot starts. Bradley posted the first-quarter high for Boston with 11 points to go along with four rebounds and three assists, while Beal was the game’s leading scorer after the first frame with 12 points. Both teams were pretty efficient from the field early on. Boston posted a 54 percent shooting margin after one quarter, while Washington logged a 45 percent mark.
BOSTON AHEAD AT THE BREAK
The Celtics carried over their momentum from the first quarter and held a 58-47 advantage at halftime. After going scoreless in the first frame, Crowder’s 10 second-quarter points provided the C’s an offensive spark. Boston’s defense also did a tremendous job of containing John Wall early on, as the Wizards point guard only managed to score five points in the first half. The Celtics surprisingly held a significant advantage on the glass, out-rebounding the Wizards 31-16 in the first two quarters. Boston’s rebounding surge was due in large part to Kelly Olynyk, who tallied eight first-half rebounds.
FOOT ON THE GAS
The Celtics held a comfortable lead at the break, but they didn’t get complacent. The C’s extended their advantage to as large as 20 points in the third quarter and went into the final frame with a 92-75 lead. Thomas ignited Boston’s third-quarter offense with 12 points, while Crowder contributed six of his own. The Wizards’ abysmal 3-point shooting performance plagued their offensive production as Washington only converted on five of 24 attempts from beyond the arc through three quarters.
C’S HANG ON
The Wizards gave the Celtics quite the scare, as they trimmed the deficit to just six points with 2:15 remaining in the game. However, a Marcus Smart bucket and steal on the ensuing Wizards possession all but sealed the Boston victory.
This was the last regular-season contest between the two squads, so if they were to meet again, it would be in the postseason. And judging by their regular-season series, a playoff matchup would certainly be entertaining.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Bradley channeled his inner Tom Brady with this display of precision passing.
The Celtics continue their homestand Wednesday night against the Indiana Pacers. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. ET
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images