The Celtics won in overtime Wednesday night, but they probably didn’t need the extra five minutes.
Boston snuck past the Washington Wizards 130-125 at Capital One Arena, but a decision by Brad Stevens late in the fourth quarter certainly led to some head scratching.
Ahead 113-110 with 13 seconds left in regulation, the Celtics immediately intentionally fouled Bradley Beal on an inbound out of a timeout. Considering there was next to no chance the Wizards would win the game on that possession (save for an exceedingly unlikely four-point play), fouling Beal so quickly came as a bit of a shock.
Beal drained his first free throw attempt, then rung the second off the backiron. The Celtics didn’t box him out, however, and he got his own rebound and put back a layup to tie the game. Kyrie Irving couldn’t execute in response to win it at the buzzer, forcing the extra time.
After the game, C’s head coach Brad Stevens explained why he instructed his men to foul.
“No timeouts for them,” Stevens told reporters, as seen on NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage. “If Beal — we have two timeouts, so we can literally call a timeout, advance it, get it in, get fouled, do it again. Call a timeout, advance it — we’re still in control of the game if we block out the shooter.”
The result obviously was what the Celtics wanted in the end, and like most things, Stevens clearly knew what he was doing when he called for the foul.
Here are some other notes from Wednesday’s Celtics-Wizards game:
— Irving was dialed in during crunch time to guide the C’s to the win.
He finished his night with 38 points, and 16 of them came in the 11:58 minutes of action he logged between the fourth quarter and overtime. Irving and John Wall traded one blow after another as they tried to carry their respective teams to victory, but a pair of difficult 3-pointers that Irving executed gave the C’s the overtime victory.
“Those last two shots were amazing,” Stevens said, via the Celtics’ official Twitter account. “The one from in front of our bench was a joke.”
— Marcus Morris has continued to be one of the Celtics’ best players this season, dropping 27 points with nine rebounds and three assists.
Between Morris’ 27 points Wednesday and 31 in Monday’s win over the New Orleans Pelicans, he now has scored 25-plus points in back-to-back games for the first time in his career.
— The Celtics had 25 free throw attempts Wednesday night, and, well…
— Boston now is 3-0 in overtime games this season.
— With the win, the Celtics now have won seven straight games, which is the longest current streak in the NBA.
Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images