Wizards Vs. Celtics: Washington Hangs Around, But Succumbs Late, 104-88

Wizards lose second-straight road game. Head back to D.C. to face Hawks on Saturday.

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Wizards Vs. Celtics: Washington Competes, But Falls Late, 104-88

This wasn't an awful game for the Wizards. They were in the game late against the second-best team in the Eastern Conference. In the end, the Celtics handled business in a 104-88 win.

That said, they didn't exactly do anything to take control of the game late against a Celtics bunch that allowed Washington to hang around before finally slamming the door.

Rajon Rondo was a problem. He had 20 points and 14 assists while shooting a perfect 6 for 6 from the free throw line.

The Ted Leonsis Approved Big Three™ of John Wall, Andray Blatche and Jordan Crawford had 20, 20 and 19 points respectively, so that was nice although Wall and Crawford combined for 13 turnovers on their own. Fun fact: Blatche has the most double-doubles in the NBA so far this April (five).

There's not much else in the stat sheet to point to. The Celtics shot 50 percent from the field -- compared to 45 percent for the Wizards -- but they missed 12 of thier 13 three-point attempts. Kevin Garnet did his Kevin Garnett thing, scoring some key buckets, throwing down dunks and netting 15 points on 8 shots. Paul Pierce got 12 points at the free throw line to offset a 5-for-14 shooting night.

In the end, the Wizards just didn't have enough to pull out a win on the road. Next up, Atlanta at home on Saturday night.


Wizards Vs. Celtics: Second Quarter Propels Washington Back Into Game, Trailing 59-56

Hey, this is a close game. It didn't look like it would be early when the Celtics jumped out by as many as 12 against the Wizards in the first quarter. But here we are at halftime with the score 59-56 in Boston's favor. Not bad.

The Wizards haven't defended well. This isn't particularly surprising -- they surrendered 75 points to the Pacers in the first half on Wednesday. The easiest way to shoot 52 percent and trail at half? Allow your opponent to shoot 59 percent from the field. Boston has moved the ball well, racking up 17 assists (only six field goals were unassisted).

Fortunately, the Wizards have done a lot well at the offensive end. They've shot 18 free throws (four more than the Celtics). Jordan Crawford and Andray Blatche lead the Wizards with 15 and 14 point respectively, but more importantly they're each shooting above 50 percent from the floor. Not all the misses have been quality shots, but that's as efficient as anyone can ask for.

If the Wizards can lock in on defense in the second half, they could steal a game in Boston. For that to happen, it will have to start with John Wall containing Rajon Rondo, who has already dished out nine assists.


Wizards Vs. Celtics: John Wall, Washington Catch Boston In Bounce-Back Game

This is not ideal for the Wizards. Washington strolls into Boston for a match vs. a Celtics team that just got trashed by Eastern Conference-leading Chicago. The Celtics should be mad. Washington should be scared.

Boston already had motivation for this one. The last time these team's met, John Wall banked in a three-pointer to lift the Wizards to a surprising win in the game's final minute.

John Wall admitted it was luck after the game. Doc Rivers? He wasn't pleased: "Let's just say that was the basketball gods punishing us for the way we played," the Celtics coach said. Tonight it might be the Wizards who get punished.

Looking beyond the context of these particular teams, there's a more troubling aspect for Washington. After piecing together a three-game win streak for the first time since Obama was elected president, the Wizards goofed on the road in a 136-112 loss to Indiana.

We've debated whether or not the Wizards homestretch will have any bearing on next serious (reminder: I decided not really), but as Jordan Crawford said, this is a team of men. And men do not like to go out and lose every night -- especially not in embarrassing fashion. Let's see if the Wizards compete tonight in Boston.

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