BOSTON — What would have been a resilient win for the Boston Celtics instead turned into a heartbreaking loss.
With injuries to a slew of key players, the C’s blew a 20-point lead and fell in double overtime to the Washington Wizards 125-124 at TD Garden.
Marcus Morris paced the Celtics with 31 points as six C’s scored in double figures. Bradley Beal dropped 34 points and was one of five Wizards in double figures.
The Celtics fall to 46-22 with the loss, while the Wizards climb to 39-30.
Here’s how it all went down:
G: Terry Rozier
F: Guerschon Yabusele
F: Jayson Tatum
F: Marcus Morris
C: Aron Baynes
RUNNING ON FUMES
The Celtics were down quite a few men Wednesday due to various injuries. Jaylen Brown (concussion), Al Horford (injury), Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness), and Marcus Smart (right thumb sprain) — in addition to Daniel Theis (left meniscal tear) and Gordon Hayward (left ankle) — all were inactive.
Despite the unusual starting lineup, the Celtics didn’t struggle to find scoring early on, as they led 37-23 through one quarter.
The Celts piled things on early, beginning with a 9-0 run within the first three minutes of the game to build a quick seven-point advantage. The Wizards pulled within seven later in the period, but the C’s scored six of the quarter’s final eight points.
Morris had 10 points in the first.
C’S STUMBLE INTO HALF
Boston quickly stretched its lead to 20 in the second quarter, but that advantage shrunk to seven as they entered the half up 59-52.
The Wizards outscored the Celtics 29-22 in the quarter. Washington cut the lead to 14 with 3:24 to play after putting together a 7-1 run over 1:10, and although the Celtics built the lead back up to 17, the Wizards finished the final 2:24 of the half on a 10-0 run.
Morris led the C’s with 11 points, while Tatum added 10 of his own. Morris’ brother Markieff led the Wizards with 11 first-half points.
After the Celtics mostly dominated the first half, the third quarter was a constant back-and-forth between the two sides, with the Wizards claiming the lead and finishing the quarter up 81-80.
At 3:35 Washington grabbed a 77-76 lead after an 8-0 run over a minute, their first lead since the opening basket. They built the lead up to three, but it was cut back to one to end the quarter.
Washington’s comeback was due in large part to Beal heating up. After scoring just five points in the first half, the guard dropped 16 points in the third alone.
MEEKS’ HEROICS FORCE OVERTIME
Like the previous frame, the ensuing minutes were spent with the two teams trading one chance after another. Rarely did a scoring possession from one team go unanswered by the other.
With 44 seconds left, Morris hit a huge 3-pointer to put Boston up 103-99. Beal pulled the Wizards back within two on a layup, but Tatum hit one of his two free throws the next trip down to put the C’s back up by three. Beal, however, answered with another layup.
Up 104-103 with 13 seconds to play, Shane Larkin hit both his free throws to increase Boston’s to three. The next possession, Beal’s 3-point attempt with five seconds left rimmed out, but the Celtics tipped the ball out and the Wizards had another chance to tie. On the second opportunity, Jodie Meeks took the shot and knocked it down to force overtime.
ONE OT NOT ENOUGH
The Wizards led 115-113 with just under 20 seconds to play in overtime, and with a chance to tie, the Celtics proceeded to turn the ball over. After fouling and forcing an inbound, Boston caused a turnover and got the ball back underneath their own basket with 8.8 seconds left.
On the inbounds, Morris got the ball to Rozier who swung it to Tatum at the top of the key. Tatum drove the lane, scored the tying layup while also drawing the foul. Tied at 115, the rookie missed what would have been the game-winning free throw, sending the game to a second overtime.
WIZARDS PREVAIL IN SECOND OT
Washington gave itself a five-point cushion within the first half of the second overtime, but Rozier had an answer with 46 seconds to play.
Down by four, the guard knocked down a big 3-pointer to pull the Celtics within one. But that was all they could do, as Tatum missed a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
Tatum just can’t stop dunking.
The Celtics will hit the road and take on the Orlando Magic on Friday. Tip from Amway Center is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images