BOSTON — During his rant after a blowout loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens lamented his team wasn’t playing “connected” basketball.
“I thought we did a lot of things on an island,” Stevens said at the time.
If that was the case Tuesday, it appears everyone was back on land Friday.
The Celtics tallied assists on 28 of their 42 baskets in a 33-point win over the Washington Wizards. All five of Boston’s starters recorded exactly three assists, and 11 of the 12 Celtics who saw the floor had at least one helper.
For a team that already has one distributor sidelined in Marcus Smart (more on him later), it was just what the doctor ordered.
“We’ve got to play as a team,” Stevens said. “… We need all five guys playing together all of the time, and I thought they did a good job of that.”
Let’s hit a few more notes from Celtics-Wizards:
— John Wall is one of the fastest players in the NBA, but Boston’s backcourt managed to keep pace with him Friday night.
The Wizards guard had another rough night at the Garden, tallying just 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting and committing three turnovers.
“The first thing you have to do is you have to take away transition,” Stevens said of defending Wall. “I though all three of our guards (Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas, Evan Turner) were sprinting back in transition from the get-go, and that was pretty consistent all night.”
— Evan Turner got poked in the right eye early in the fourth quarter. He headed to the locker room and didn’t return.
Before his departure, though, he threw one of the more hilariously bad passes you’ll see:
Juuuust a bit outside.
— The outlook for Smart’s return isn’t getting more optimistic.
The injured Celtics guard was spotted on crutches before the game, despite Stevens claiming Smart wasn’t on crutches when he saw him Thursday and Friday. Stevens admitted it isn’t likely Smart will play on Boston’s upcoming five-game road trip and could be a “long shot” for Boston’s three contests after that, which means he might not be back in uniform until Dec. 15 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Smart injured his left knee Nov. 20 and was expected to miss a minimum of two weeks.
— The Celtics’ road trip will take them all over the country — and out of it, as well.
Boston will play two road games in Florida against the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat before heading further south to Mexico City next Wednesday to take on Rajon Rondo and the Sacramento Kings.
“It’s going to be a heck of a road trip,” Stevens said. “We’ve going to have to hunker down and play.”
— There was a quick turnaround at TD Garden on Friday, as the Boston Bruins played a home game against the New York Rangers earlier that afternoon. (The B’s won, 4-3).
Stevens said he was following the game on TV at his TD Garden office and was planning to watch overtime from the press level before Boston rallied to win it.
That’s more than David Lee can say, apparently.
“How’d the Bruins do?” Lee asked reporters in the team locker room. “Is Cam Neely still playing?”
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder (99) reacts after a basket during the first half against the Washington Wizards at TD Garden.