Final: Celtics 114, Wizards 83. Sometimes it's nice just to win an easy one.
After a grueling road trip last week jam-packed with hard-fought games against good teams, the Celtics finally get to enjoy a nice blowout win in their own building. It's a 114-83 victory that turns ugly in the fourth quarter, with Boston's bench mob running up the score with no remorse.
Paul Pierce leads the way for the Celtics with 23 points, while Rajon Rondo adds his seventh double-double with 12 points and 13 assists. Nick Young comes off the bench to lead the Wizards with 20 points in a losing effort.
The Celtics have the day off Thursday before returning to the Garden on Friday night to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder. The C's beat the Thunder in OKC last week, 92-83, and they'll look to take care of business again on their home floor.
Fourth quarter, 2:48, Celtics 109-75: The Celtics have emptied their bench, giving Luke Harangody and Von Wafer their first playing time in a good, long while. Both have played very well in their first couple minutes.
Wafer has made a nice hustle play for a tough defensive rebound, and he's drained a corner 3; Harangody has made good crisp passes, showing a flair for the unselfish that fits in well in the C's system.
This game has been a solid effort for the Celtics from one through 12.
Fourth quarter, 5:47, Celtics 103-73: The Celtics are chucking up 3s like teenagers in a pickup game this quarter. And honestly, why shouldn't they? With the effort they've given tonight, they deserve their 12 mintues of fun.
Nate Robinson and Delonte West have each connected from downtown in the fourth quarter. And they're having a blast.
Fourth quarter, 8:36, Celtics 96-69: Someone must have soiled JaVale McGeee's corn flakes this morning. He's in a bad mood.
First he smacks Semih Erden in the face as the young Turk finishes a dunk; Erden is now on the sidelines being attended by trainer Ed Lacerte with a nosebleed.
Then McGee plows over Glen Davis in transition, sending Big Baby to the floor as he recovers a loose ball.
This thing's getting chippy. Perhaps the Wizards don't like losing by 27…
Fourth quarter, 9:46, Celtics 94-69: Doc Rivers has the second unit on the floor to start the fourth quarter — Erden, Davis, Daniels, West, Robinson.
That unit seems to be doing just fine. The Wizards have yet to score in the fourth quarter — it's a 5-0 run for Boston with the starters watching from the bench.
End of third quarter, Celtics 89-69: Last time the C's faced the Wizards, they played like garbage. This time, they're heading for garbage time.
They lead the Washington Wizards by an even 20 points heading into the fourth quarter. After a grueling couple of weeks — lots of tough opponents, three overtime games — this looks like a golden opportunity to rest the starters in the fourth quarter.
Third quarter, 3:28, Celtics 81-64: Rajon Rondo just lobbed the perfect alley to KG, who landed the oop in style. He's now got 18 points and seven boards, and the C's are once again beginning to pull away.
Doc Rivers lets up on the gas a little bit here, pulling KG out for Semih Erden. It's now a Semih/Big Baby duo on the floor with the three perimeter starters.
Third quarter, 5:57, Celtics 75-60: What's gotten into Kirk Hinrich? The little man's got six points in the last minute. He's singlehandedly keeping the Wizards from rolling over and dying.
Hinrich was scoreless to open the third quarter. He's now got a fairly decent stat line — six points, five assists, four rebounds.
The Wiz still trail by 15, though.
Third quarter, 7:52, Celtics 71-54: Shaquille O'Neal is now 1-for-5 from the free-throw line. In what's otherwise been a stellar night for him, that's the one black mark.
Shaq's missed over 5,000 free throws in his career, but with that gloriously awkward form, each one is different. The misses are like snowflakes.
Third quarter, 9:44, Celtics 69-49: The Celtics come out firing to start the third quarter, pouring in nine points in the first two minutes. The C's are 4-for-4 from the field since halftime, including five points from Ray Allen.
Four of the C's five starters are now scoring in double figures. The fifth is Rajon Rondo, who's not far behind with eight.
Halftime, Celtics 60-44: What a big first half for the big man in the middle. The Celtics lead by 16 at the break, thanks in no small part to Shaquille O'Neal — the Diesel's got 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting and six rebounds.
The Wizards have solid, athletic bigs, but they're no match for Shaq and Kevin Garnett down low. KG has added 10 points, six rebounds and two assists from the C's, who have to feel pretty good with a double-digit lead at halftime.
Paul Pierce leads all scorers with 15 points. Al Thornton has had a solid first half with 13 points for the Wizards.
Second quarter, 2:28, Celtics 51-38: Eight points and six rebounds now for KG, who's been making big plays on the offensive end every time down the floor. Whether it's setting the perfect screen, making the extra pass, or throwing down a one-handed slam, he's coming up big.
The Celtics have pushed their lead to double digits. The challenge will be to keep the pressure on. It's not time to let up just yet.
Second quarter, 4:11, Celtics 47-38: Kevin Garnett just threw down a monster dunk from out of nowhere. He's got six points, six rebounds, and a fire in his eye that can't be extinguished.
KG got lit up by Andray Blatche the last time these two teams played, at the end of the regular season last spring. Don't think he's forgotten that. He's out for revenge now.
Second quarter, 5:04, Celtics 43-38: It would appear that Doc Rivers is starting to get comfortable using Shaquille O'Neal for seven minutes at a time now, not just the usual five or six.
It's a good thing, too. Shaq has been tremendously effective when he plays. He's got 11 points and four rebounds so far tonight, and he's a perfect 5-for-5 from the field.
Second quarter, 8:28, Celtics 37-34: Agent Zero isn't Agent Zero anymore. Gilbert Arenas is wearing the number 9, which happens to match his point total so far tonight.
Arenas has scored nine points already, but it's taken him a lot of shots. He's 3-for-8 from the field and 2-for-5 from 3-point range.
Without John Wall around, Arenas is free to have the ball in his hands and roam around creating his own shots at will.
He loves it, obviously. But will it help the Wiz win?
Second quarter, 9:58, Celtics 35-28: The new generation of Celtics fans might just learn to love Delonte West. Delonte just ran the break twice in the opening minutes of the second quarter — once he got to the basket, another time he almost scored if not for a foul on Semih Erden away from the ball.
Delonte's a very smart player with good court instincts. He's doing a great job for the C's early on.
End of first quarter, Celtics 33-28: What's that thing that wins championships again? I can't remember.
Oh right. Defense.
We haven't seen much of it yet. The Celtics are shooting 78.9 percent from the field so far in this game, which is just insane. Part of that is just fluky good luck on the C's part, but the other part is that the Wizards couldn't be bothered to close out on a shooter. It's been ugly at times.
The Celtics' defensive effort has been considerably better, with the Wiz shooting only 44.0 percent.
Paul Pierce leads all scorers so far with 12 points for the Celtics; he's also got two rebounds and one assist. Al Thornton has nine points and a block for Washington.
First quarter, 3:12, Celtics 24-17: Delonte West blows a subtle kiss to the TD Garden crowd as he's introduced for the first time. It's been over three years since he played a regular-season game in Celtic green, so tonight's a big night for the embattled C's guard.
West has checked in along with Semih Erden, who subs Kevin Garnett out. KG's had a solid first quarter with four rebounds already in this one.
First quarter, 4:56, Celtics 19-13: Shaq checks out after a solid seven minutes of work, much more than he's used to. But they were a stellar seven minutes — the big dude's got nine points and three rebounds.
Shaq gets a nice ovation as he comes out. Glen Davis takes the floor in his place.
First quarter, 6:22, Celtics 15-12: Kevin Garnett just missed a relatively easy putback off a Rondo miss, but Shaq was there to tip it back in. A solid start for the Diesel — five points, two rebounds, and he's made both of his field goal attempts.
This might be a matchup, like Memphis, where Shaq can exploit the fact that he's just too big and too powerful to be stopped. JaVale McGee is a rising young star defensively, and he blocks a lot of shots. But he's not strong enough to muscle up against Shaq. The Celtics' big man is a savvy veteran and he realizes this. Look out.
First quarter, 8:18, Wizards 10-9: Al Thornton just silenced the TD Garden crowd by knocking down a deep 3 with Paul Pierce in his face.
That was a pretty shot, and it gave the Wizards an early lead, but it's a shot the Celtics want Thornton taking. If they can use the imposing presence of Shaquille O'Neal to keep the Wiz out of the paint, forcing them into jump shots, they're doing their job defensively.
In the long run, the Celtics have the better ball movement and the better shooters. They should rise to the top eventually.
First quarter, 10:22, Celtics 6-5: The Celtics' ball movement is working beautifully early on. The C's have three baskets in the first two minutes, all of them assisted, and zero turnovers.
Two dimes already for Rajon Rondo. We could be in for another 20-assist game from the Celtics' All-Star point guard.
7:30 p.m.: As expected, the Wizards will be without John Wall when they take on the Celtics. The C's, meanwhile, welcome back a pair of key bench players in Delonte West and Marquis Daniels.
West has been suspended, and Daniels has been away while he attends to family matters. Both return Wednesday against the Wiz.
Tipoff is coming up from the TD Garden.
6 p.m.: Welcome to the TD Garden, where we're about to get official word on the status of John Wall, who appears unlikely to play Wednesday night as the Wizards take on the host Celtics.
Stay tuned for updates. Wiz coach Flip Saunders will address the media in just a minute.
3:30 p.m.: Back in the old days, you'd have journalists to break stories like this. Now you've got 140-character news releases, straight from the horse's mouth.
Or in the case of John Wall, it's a three-character update. A fan asked Wall on his Twitter page if he was good to go Wednesday night against the Celtics, and he replied, "naw."
Wall came out of the Wizards' loss to the Bulls on Saturday with a sprained foot. He sat out Tuesday night at home against Toronto, and his status against the Celtics is very much in doubt. Wall's Twitter update is by no means an official team statement, but it's something to be aware of. It doesn't look like we'll see the star rookie Wednesday at the TD Garden.
In his place, though, the Wiz have a lethal guard duo of Gilbert Arenas and Kirk Hinrich. They'll be fine either way.
8 a.m.: Change has come to our nation's capital, and it's not just the midterm elections.
The Washington Wizards have revamped their roster this fall, rebuilding around a core of young talent headlined by John Wall, the NBA's top overall draft pick. And come Wednesday night, the Celtics will get their first look at the new-look Wiz.
Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison are gone, and the new squad is built around young guns Wall, Andray Blatche and Al Thornton. And speaking of guns, Gilbert Arenas is still alive and firing for the Wizards too, offering his veteran leadership at the ripe old age of 29.
The Wizards are 3-6 following a home win over Toronto on Tuesday night; they'll finish out their back-to-back Wednesday at the TD Garden. The Celtics are 8-2 and well-rested since returning home on Sunday from a four-game road trip.