BOSTON — Entering Friday night, not a lot had gone right for the Celtics through four regular-season games.
The key part of that sentence: “through four regular-season games.”
Boston did its best to quiet some early-season rumblings Friday night, going off for 118 points on 45.4 percent shooting (44 for 97) in a blowout win over the Washington Wizards.
The breakout performance came after several offensive clunkers, the latest of which prompted point guard Isaiah Thomas to declare “changes need to be made.” But Friday’s win drove home an important point: Sometimes all you need is just a little patience.
“I’d say we were due,” head coach Brad Stevens said after the game. “It was nice to see the ball go in the net.”
The Celtics still are under .500 at 2-3, but Stevens was quick to point out that it’s still too early in the season to get too high or too low.
“We’ve played some really good teams already,” Stevens added. “We’ve learned a lot about ourselves in the last five days — some good, but some bad. We’ll figure it out.”
Let’s hit a few other notes from Celtics-Wizards:
— What made Boston’s win arguably more impressive is that the club earned it without the services of Marcus Smart.
Despite not having one of their best defensive players, the Celtics managed to keep the potent backcourt duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal in check, as Wall tallied a season-low 13 points while Beal added a manageable 24. As Stevens saw it, Boston’s effectiveness on Wall and Beal was spurred in part by an unlikely source: Jared Sullinger.
“The other thing that he did a good job of was, he noticed when we were behind defensively,” Stevens said. “And so he’d jump out on Beal, jump out on Wall and make it a little bit more difficult. He was very aware.”
— Sullinger had quite the contest, finishing with a team-high 21 points and making a pair of terrific outlet passes, including one he threw the length of the court from his derriere to find Isaiah Thomas for the layup.
“As I was rolling over like a bear, I just kind of (saw) this little guy open around the free throw line,” Sullinger said when asked about the play after the game. “And luckily that roll kind of carried the momentum of the ball, (which) went flying, and Isaiah layed it up.”
— Jae Crowder suffered what appeared to be a painful injury late in the fourth quarter as he went up for a layup. He had trouble walking off the court under his own power, and Sullinger had to help him hobble to the locker room.
“Knee-to-knee,” Crowder said after the game when asked to describe his injury. “Someone kneed me on the inside of my knee. Didn’t feel good. Probably expecting it to feel sore in the morning, too.”
The good news is that Crowder said the medical staff told him it was just a bone bruise, and the 25-year-old swingman hopes to play Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks.
— Sullinger’s colorful description of his assist was pretty good, but the quote of the night comes from Evan Turner, who was asked why the Celtics are forcing so many turnovers this season (the Wizards committed 24 turnovers Friday night).
“We have some thirsty-ass ball guards,” Turner said after the game.
Hard to argue with that logic.
Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images