Jeff Green’s 39 points lead shorthanded Celtics past Wizards in OT
|01.22.14 at 9:47 pm ET|
Gerald Wallace jogged out at tip-off as one of the starting guards – yes, the same defensive-minded Wallace who’s averaging 4.3 points per game. Phil Pressey orchestrated the offense as the starting point guard – yes, the same undrafted rookie who entered Wednesday night’s game shooting 23.5 percent from the field.
But instead of folding given the stacked odds against them, the Celtics knocked off the Wizards in overtime, 113-111, on the road Wednesday night to snap a three-game losing streak and a 10-game road slide.
Wallace played the role of hero as he banked in a layup with 2.5 seconds left in OT to give the Celtics (15-29) the win.
Jeff Green erupted for a season-high 39 points, including eight 3-pointers. Pressey poured in 20 points and Jared Sullinger added 14 points and 10 rebounds.
John Wall completed a triple-double with 28 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Five other Wizards (20-21) scored double digits, with Nene Hilario (17 points) leading the way.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE CELTICS
Green start, Green finish: The aggressive, electric version of the enigmatic Green appeared in the first half, and unlike a number of times this season, that version stuck around for the remainder of the game. With Rondo and Bradley absent, Green shouldered the scoring load for the Celtics. He collected 19 first-half points, hitting four 3-pointers to go along with three rebounds, and Boston held a 61-43 lead at the break. Green’s hot start did not peter out, as he went for a game-high 39. Green made a pair of big shots in overtime to give Boston the lead for good. The visit to the nation’s capital was a homecoming for Green, a former standout at Georgetown University.
Pressey: The Missouri product has proven this season that he’s capable of running the point in a past-first, low-turnover capacity. But many Boston fans want to see at least an iota of offensive prowess. He showed rare offensive chops against Washington with a career-high 20 points. Pressey made six of his first seven shots — including four 3-pointers — and dished out four assists as well. He knocked down his fifth 3-pointer with less than a minute left in overtime to give the Celtics a three-point lead. Pressey was averaging 1.3 points per game and had shot 6-for-38 from 3-point range heading into the game.
Hot half: Boston’s rag-tag lineup torched the Verizon Center in the first half. The C’s shot 51.2 percent overall in the first half and finished 9-for-19 on 3-pointers, with Pressey and Green notching eight of those. Fourteen of the team’s 22 made baskets were assisted. The dominance was not restricted to the offensive end, as Boston held Washington to 37.2 percent shooting from the field and 18.2 percent from beyond the arc, and pickpocketed the Wizards seven times.
Wall/Beal D: The recipe to success against the Wizards’ superb guard combination, Wall and Bradley Beal, seems easy enough: Keep Wall out of the paint and Beal inside the 3-point line. Entering Wednesday’s game, Wall was shooting 63.2 percent on shots from less than five feet, compared to 34.2 percent from outside the paint. Beal, conversely, thrives from long range, as evidenced by his 3-point percentage (44.2). But that figure drops to just 37.9 on mid-range shots (5-to-23 feet). Beal and Wall scored 42 points, but on an inefficient 45 shots. Wall struggled in particular, shooting 9-for-29 from the field. Boston followed the scouting report, forcing Wall into 16 jump shots, and he made just three of them. Additionally, the Celtics blocked as many of Wall’s layups (six) as they allowed (six). Beal finished the game 0-for-4 on treys.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE CELTICS
No Rondo: Celtics coach Brad Stevens opted to rest Rondo on Wednesday and avoid playing him in back-to-back games. Rondo played a season-high 26 minutes in Tuesday’s 93-86 loss to the Heat. In his third game back from ACL surgery, Rondo shot 0-for-8 from the field and scored one point in Miami. He’s averaging 5 points (on 25.9 percent shooting), 4.3 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game. Prior to Rondo’s return, Stevens made it clear that he wanted to avoid playing his point guard in back-to-back games. Rondo is expected back vs. the Thunder on Friday.
Third quarter: It would be unrealistic for Boston to have maintained its torrid first-half shooting pace and 18-point halftime lead considering its personnel compared to Washington’s. But in one quarter, the Celtics massive lead had dwindled to just three points. The Wizards reduced the deficit with scorching shooting and stingy defense. Washington made 60 percent of its field goals while forcing Boston into 27.3 percent shooting. Wall bounced back after a tough first half to score seven points in the quarter.