Final, Celtics win 113-111: So, that happened.
A battle of Eastern Conference lightweights turned into a heavyweight bout as Gerald Wallace, Jeff Green and the Celtics survived against the Washington Wizards.
Green dropped a season-high 39 points and Wallace hit the clinching layup with two seconds left to help the Celtics (15-29) snap a three-game losing streak. The Wizards (20-21) failed to get over the .500 hump.
John Wall recorded a triple-double with 28 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, but he was an absurd 9-for-29 from the field and committed six turnovers. That’s not winning basketball.
Overtime, :02.5, Celtics 113-111: Well, they didn’t hold it until the end, but they got the bucket. The choice of the player surprised just about everyone.
Gerald Wallace brought the ball up, didn’t receive much resistance and just glided in for a go-ahead layup. The Wizards must have assumed the play was for Jeff Green and just fell asleep. Can’t blame them.
They’ll have one more chance to make up for the oversight.
Overtime, :09.8, game tied 111-111: Pressey is headed to the bench after fouling out. It was a good foul, preventing a layup by Marcin Gortat after Pressey had saved the ball from going out of bounds, but he won’t be able to complete what has turned into a classic game.
Gortat hit one of two foul shots to knot it up. The Celtics have the ball again with a chance to hold for the last shot. Maybe they’ll actually run it down and keep Washington from getting a last chance this time.
Overtime, :52.4, Celtics 111-108: This finally looks like a basketball team. It only took 48-plus minutes.
Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger and, just now with a three, Phil Pressey have all delivered massive shots to help the Celtics stay ahead of the Wizards. It’s still a one-possession game, though, so the Celtics need to keep their foot on the gas.
End of regulation, game tied 99-99: Once again, the Wizards didn’t get a bad look in the clutch. Once again, Nene did not deliver.
Nene got a wide-open 18-footer out of the timeout but missed long. Jeff Green and the Celtics are bailed out for their poor clock management and we’re headed to overtime.
Fourth quarter, :01.2, game tied 99-99: Jeff Green got a shot — not a good one, but a shot — and missed badly. His attempt, a good three feet beyond the 3-point line, was wide right by a lot. Bradley Beal got the rebound and called timeout, but Bill Kennedy’s crew said time expired.
They were wrong. On review, the Wizards got a second to work with and will have a chance for the final shot.
Fourth quarter, :10.3, game tied 99-99: Here we go. Nene got an open jumper from the free throw line out of a pick and roll with Wall, but could not convert. Green got the board and Stevens took a timeout. Let’s see what Stevens has in that brain of his for this last shot.
Fourth quarter, :19.6, game tied 99-99: That was strange. The Wiz forced a miss by Humphries and had the ball on the break, but Wall tossed to Beal on the wing and Beal held up to let his teammates — and the Celtics defenders — get back.
The best news for the Celtics is that they’ll get the last shot as long as they rebound. There is 12 seconds left on the shot clock.
Fourth quarter, :45.9, game tied 99-99: It’s one of those nights for Jeff Green. After Trevor Ariza hit a corner three to pull the Wizards ahead, Green hit a fadeaway 28-footer to knot it up.
Phil Pressey, who keeps making big plays for the Celtics, then dove for a loose ball and tossed it toward Green, who was able to dive for it himself and get the timeout. Hustle is contagious and Pressey has the initial case.
Fourth quarter, 2:58, Celtics 94-92: Phil Pressey made a great play and a terrible one in quick succession.
With John Wall barreling downcourt on a 2-on-1, Pressey stepped up and got both hands on the ball to force a jump-ball as Wall attempted his layup. Pressey then won the jump, which led to a baby hook by Jared Sullinger.
On the next defensive possession, Pressey fouled Wall as the Wizards guard was shooting a jump shot.
That’s the way it goes with rookies, one step forward and another half-step back. You just hope it’s only a half-step.
Fourth quarter, 5:40, Celtics 91-88: Despite Brandon Bass’ brain cramp, the Celtics just might survive this.
Bass pulled the ultimate no-no by fouling a 3-point shooter in the act. He drilled Martell Webster as the Wizards swingman canned a trey and sent Webster to the line for a four-point play. Bass redeemed himself with a powerful dunk to extend Boston’s lead, but the Celtics won’t win this game without avoiding non-head’s-up plays.
Fourth quarter, 8:40, game tied 81-81: Ugh.
Bradley Beal drills a jumper to bring Washington all the way back. The Celtics have now been outscored 38-20 since halftime and they haven’t even looked that good. Kris Humphries personified the struggles by getting the ball in the post, turning to dribble and … falling over and losing the ball out of bounds.
End of third quarter, Celtics 76-73: The Celtics are suddenly cold, while John Wall is heating up. Washington’s stud point guard is 3-for-4 from the field since his 3-for-14 first half. He’s also added nine assists and two steals to his stat line.
The Celtics need some sort of scoring option other than Jeff Green, who has a game-high 25 points. The ball is sticking on offense, even when Green has the ball. They are settling for one-on-one shots and when they do get a layup or a good shot, they are weak with the ball, leading to a blocked shot or a careless turnover.
Third quarter, 4:41, Celtics 74-66: Thank goodness for Jeff Green, otherwise the Celtics could be in real trouble.
The Wizards have come storming back, closing the gap from 19 points down to just three, before Green got the ball and went to work. Green nailed a fadeaway baseline jump shot and a 27-foot three to give the Celts a bit more cushion.
Still, the Wizards have outscored the Celtics 23-13 since the half and are 9-for-13 in the quarter. The Celtics have to shore things up at both ends if they want to avoid another blown lead and crushing defeat.
Third quarter, 7:39, Celtics 67-59: This being the Celtics, they had to come out with a post-halftime swoon to let the Wizards back into the game. You didn’t think it would stay this easy, did you?
The Celtics are just 2-for-8 in the third quarter, thanks to settling for jumpers and 3-pointers instead of attacking the hoop. Their hot first half made them complacent. Instead of running through their sets and generating good shots, they’re just firing away. It ain’t working.
Halftime, Celtics 61-43: John Wall and the Wizards cannot be proud of the way this first half is gone. They’re not really this bad a team. Really, I swear.
The Celtics have led by as many as 19 points as Jeff Green and Phil Pressey have gone off. Green has 19 points and Pressey has 14 as the Celtics are sharing the ball — 14 assists on 22 field goals — and limiting their turnovers — six so far.
Gerald Wallace seems to like running the point. The natural small forward has six assists and one turnover, and has three points despite not scoring a basket.
Wall is having a rough game despite recording 11 points, six rebounds and four assists. He’s just 3-for-14 from the field and has three turnovers.
Second quarter, 2:49, Celtics 53-37: Jeff Green’s a D.C. kid through and through, so that may be why he’s playing like he’s right at home.
Green has 16 points on 6-for-11 shooting as he puts together one of his best halves of the season. When newcomer Vander Blue forgot the play on one possession, Green bailed him out by simply taking — and making — an elbow jumper before people could start bumping into each other.
This probably means a massive second-half letdown is coming for Green, of course. Sorry, just being realistic based on past evidence.
Second quarter, 5:29, Celtics 47-32: Pressey didn’t look like much of a sharpshooter Tuesday night, when he tossed up a pair of airballs in Miami, but he’s looking Reggie Miller-esque tonight.
Pressey is 5-of-6 from the field and 4-for-5 from three as the Celtics keep building on their lead. Both newcomers, Vander Blue and Chris Johnson, are now on the court, as Stevens goes with all three of his unheralded guards at once.
It took almost a quarter and a half for the Wizards, the fifth-best 3-point shooting team in the NBA, to get their first triple. It came courtesy of Martell Webster. The Celtics had better watch the Wizards, who are 1-for-7 from deep. If Washington heats up, it could wipe out this deficit quickly.
Second quarter, 8:16, Celtics 42-28: Jeff Green will be taking all the 3-pointers tonight. He has taken six already, making three of them, to lead the Celtics in their largest lead of the game.
The Celtics have built on their 10-point advantage to begin the quarter despite going with an odd lineup. Gerald Wallace manned the point and Kelly Olynyk was at the three for the first few minutes of the quarter. Somehow, it worked. Wallace created for teammates, dishing out four assists, and even made it to the free throw line and hit both his foul shots.
It’s a weird lineup, so it makes sense that weird things would happen.
End of first quarter, Celtics 32-22: If the Celtics are serious about this whole tanking thing, they’d better get a message to Stevens to cut out this Pressey-Johnson backcourt — fast.
Pressey and Johnson wrapped up the first quarter with 15 points and four assists combined as the Celtics burst out to a double-digit lead. On the defensive end, Pressey has helped hold Wall, a potential All-Star, to 2-for-8 shooting.
Kris Humphries also pitched in a couple of no-doubt dunks to give the Celtics some inside presence. The Wizards have been knocking on the door to get over .500 all season and have playoff aspirations. But the first 12 minutes of this game have shown they have some things to sort out.
First quarter, 5:45, Celtics 20-9: Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley are both out, Jeff Green is starting at shooting guard and the Celtics’ two guards available off the bench were in the D-League this time two weeks ago.
So, of course, Green hits his first three shots and the Celtics sprint out to a double-digit lead in the opening minutes. Of course.
Green has nine points on 3-for-4 shooting and Chris Johnson has again provided energy, getting a steal and hitting both free throws after he was fouled attempting the ensuing fast-break layup. The Celtics have held the Wizards to 4-for-11 shooting and have forced Washington’s vaunted backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal into two early turnovers and 2-for-5 shooting.
6:45 p.m.: Avery Bradley’s sprained ankle doesn’t look like it will be a minor fix.
The Celtics shooting guard hobbled into Verizon Center in a boot and on crutches before Wednesday’s game against the Wizards. Celtics coach Brad Stevens has said he expects Bradley to miss a couple of weeks with the injury. Added to the absence of Jerryd Bayless with a sprained toe and Rajon Rondo for rest, the Celtics have a skeleton crew available for the backcourt tonight.
The starting lineup will look a little weird as a result. Gerald Wallace starts with Jeff Green sliding over as the de facto shooting guard. As expected, rookie Phil Pressey will start at the point.
The projected starters appear below.
5:25 p.m.: The Celtics’ march on Washington will be sparsely attended, at least as far as the guards go.
Rajon Rondo will sit out for the Celtics as the team continues to play it cautious with his surgically repaired right knee. The Celtics are playing the second leg of a back-to-back, and coach Brad Stevens doesn’t want to push his point guard, who logged 25 minutes, 43 seconds in Tuesday’s defeat in Miami.
Phil Pressey presumably will start at point guard, with 10-day contract guys Vander Blue and Chris Johnson manning the off-guard and backup spots. Jeff Green may have to take up some time at the two as well.
We’ll update you with projected starters and more as we get closer to tip.
8 a.m. ET: John Wall and Bradley Beal should be licking their chops, if that’s their sort of thing.
Wall and Beal get to face a Celtics squad that is not only reeling, having lost 15 of its last 17 games, but that is also expected to be woefully undermanned in the backcourt. Avery Bradley joined Jerryd Bayless on the shelf after spraining his ankle during Tuesday’s loss in Miami. Now, Phil Pressey and Chris Johnson must take the reins when Rajon Rondo, who is still far from full strength, needs a breather.
Unfortunately for the Celtics (14-29), Wall and Beal have been anything but pushovers. They are averaging 37.1 points per game combined and have the Washington Wizards (20-20) battling for a realistic chance at an Eastern Conference playoff spot.
The Wizards shoot the heck out of the ball — fifth in the NBA in 3-point percentage at 38 percent — and force turnovers, but they don’t do anything consistently. They have won four of their last five games but have four losing streaks of three or more games this season.
Join us for updates and analysis during the game, which tips off at 7:30 p.m. ET.
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