|Celtics fall apart down stretch without Isaiah Thomas, lose to 76ers as showdown with Wizards looms||03.19.17 at 3:57 pm ET|
Want to see what an NBA margin-for-error looks like? Pit the Celtics, without Isaiah Thomas, against the up-and-coming 76ers and then start the fourth quarter.
On Sunday, the Celtics once again found themselves running ragged without their All-Star point guard around to remind everyone what time it was with the game on the line, and the result was a disappointing 105-99 defeat.
In the process, they made the race for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference unnecessarily tight, with a showdown in Boston looming against the third-seeded Wizards on Monday night. It’s unclear if Thomas, who is nursing a bone bruise in his right knee, will be able to play.
Without him, the Celtics must determine a way to slow John Wall (25.6 points, 11.1 assists in his last 8 games) and Co., or they’ll be teetering on the precipice of falling to third in the conference.
After Washington threw away Saturday’s game against Charlotte, the Celtics looked to be in a good position to grow their 1 1/2-game lead. But Rookie of the Year favorite Dario Saric scored 20 points to lead the Sixers, who outscored the Celtics 14-8 over the final 3:41 to break a 91-91 tie.
Now, if Washington wins on Monday, it will close the gap to just one game in the loss column in the playoff race, which highlights what a missed opportunity Sunday represented. With Al Horford scoring a season-high 27 points and Terry Rozier (14 points, 10 rebounds) providing a nice lift off the bench, the Celtics appeared to be in the driver’s seat, but they imploded down the stretch on offense without Thomas to bail them out.
They blew leads of 13 in the third quarter and five in the fourth. In one stretch, Marcus Smart attempted a spin move in the lane, but left the basketball behind; Amir Johnson boxed around an entry pass; Jae Crowder clanged a 3. The Celtics lost what felt like 80 percent of the loose balls during this stretch, and the Sixers sealed it when Nik Stauskus made a 3-pointer from the right wing with 38.8 seconds remaining.
There will be no rest for the weary as the Celtics return home to face the Wizards in a game that could decide who finishes second in the East. Washington leads the season series, 2-1, so the Celtics will need this one to have any chance in any potential tie-breakers. As thing stand now, the second seed in the conference will get Miami in the first round (the Heat had won 23 of 28 entering Sunday), while the third seed will face Paul George and the Pacers.
|Paul Pierce agrees to 2-year deal with Wizards||07.13.14 at 6:31 am ET|
The 36-year-old replaces Trevor Ariza on the Washington roster after Ariza agreed to terms with the Rockets earlier Saturday. Pierce had drawn interest from the Rockets, Dallas and the Lakers before agreeing with the Wizards.
Pierce spent one year with Brooklyn, averaging a career-low 13.5 points per game, having totaled 21.3 points per game for his career.
Obama , J Wall here I come
|Report: Bulls will send Hinrich, pick to Wizards||06.24.10 at 4:00 pm ET|
According to an ESPN report, the Bulls have agreed to a deal that would send guard Kirk Hinrich and the No. 17 pick to the Wizards in an effort to clear up salary cap space. The deal would not be able to be consummated until July 8, at which time the Wizards would have the salary cap space to afford Hinrich’s $9 million salary. It was not clear what Washington would send to Chicago in return.
|Preview: Celtics-Wizards||04.09.10 at 10:49 am ET|
It is now open season on Rasheed Wallace after Bill Simmons ripped him apart in an ESPN column. It’s convenient to blame all the Celtics woes on Wallace, who has not played well at all this season, and most of Simmon’s critique was completely fair.
The subtext to everything is that Wallace has somehow infected the Celtics with his own unique blend of overconfidence and laissez-faire attitude. That’s both impossible to prove and equally as difficult to disprove.
Wallace isn’t responsible for Ray Allen’s inconsistent shooting in the first half of the season, Kevin Garnett’s limited mobility or Paul Pierce’s long list of injuries. There are many reasons for the Celtics lackluster play and Wallace has certainly contributed to a lot of it with his beyond-awful 3-point shooting, shoddy rebounding and wayward attention to help-side defense
What we do know is that Wallace hasn’t left himself any wiggle room. The only way he escapes this season without any further damage to his reputation is if he plays lights out in the playoffs. The same could be said for the rest of the Celtics.
WIZARDS (24-54, 4-6 last 10)
Points Per Game: 96.0
Points Allowed: 100.9
Differential: -4.9 (26th)
Offensive Efficiency: 104.0 (25th)
Defensive Efficiency: 109.3 (18th)
Pace: 91.6 (21st)
CELTICS (49-29, 5-5 last 10)
Points Per Game: 99.3
Points Allowed: 95.3
Differential: +4.0 (10th)
Offensive Efficiency: 107.7 (15th)
Defensive Efficiency: 103.3 (4th)
Pace: 91.8 (20th)
Injuries: None. Read the rest of this entry »
|Ray: We probably got away with one||03.08.10 at 12:20 am ET|
Ray Allen felt comfortable all night.
With a game-high 25 points and 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the 3-point line, the stats say as much.
The problem was ‘ for 42 minutes ‘ the Washington Wizards felt just as good in nearly everything they did.
With the Celtics down 13 points, that’s when Allen said the C’s finally got to their opponent, opening the door for him to play hero in the final 93 seconds.
‘It was night and day. We put a lot of pressure on them. We made them play away from the basket. We forced them to be more uncomfortable than we did in the first half,” said Allen, whose trey with 17.1 seconds remaining proved to be the difference in Boston’s 86-83 win.
Asked if the Celtics might have gotten away with a win when maybe they didn’t deserve one, Allen was as honest as he could be.
‘You could say probably in a small way we did,” he admitted. “But we fought for it, we never gave up or thought it was over with, so it bowed in our favor tonight.’
|Halftime: Celtics-Wizards||03.07.10 at 9:10 pm ET|
The first half was best summed up by a fan in the next row: “C’mon, it’s the Wizards!”
Once again, the Celtics have their work cut out for them against a bad team as they trail 44-38 at the half. As they did against New Jersey two weeks ago the Celtics came out flat and suddenly a team with no hope and no directions looks like a world beater.
The Celtics problems have been mostly on offense where they shot just 35 percent and tied a season-low for first-half points. The Wizards have also blocked six shots, which contributed to that low total, with three of them coming from Javale McGee. Undeterred, the Celtics continued to try and take it to the basket against McGee and he continued to throw it back in their face.
Al Thornton has 15 points and eight rebounds, which in and of itself in an indictment on how the C’s played.
|First quarter: Celtics-Wizards||at 8:37 pm ET|
The obvious fear when playing a team like the Washington Wizards at 8 p.m. on a Sunday night is that the Celtics wouldn’t come out with enough energy. That was the story of the first 12 minutes as the C’s, and the crowd, sleepwalked through a 25-19 Wizards lead.
The Celtics dutifully worked the ball inside and got good shots, but they didn’t fall, going 7-for-21 from the floor. With favorable matchups at almost every position, the Celtics couldn’t seem to settle on a plan of attack.
The best idea involved Paul Pierce who had his way with Al Thornton and scored seven points. Washington’s Andray Blatche, who has been a revelation after the Wizards’ housecleaning at the trade deadline, has eight points and five rebounds.
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