Washington Wizards Three Takeaways: Washington Walloped by the Boston Celtics

Mar 20, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) and Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) battle for a loose ball during the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 20, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) and Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) battle for a loose ball during the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

Washington Wizards hoped to narrow the gap for the second seed, but were walloped by the Boston Celtics away from home on Monday.

On Monday, the Washington Wizards traveled to Boston to play the Celtics in their fourth and final matchup before the postseason.

The battle to solidify the second seed in the East has been heating up between the Wizards and their rival. With the Wizards sitting in the third spot, the Celtics currently hold court in the second.

Boston’s Isaiah Thomas (bruised knee) and Markieff Morris (illness) both sat out the previous two games over the weekend. Both players returned and were in their respective corners for Monday’s matinee.

The last time these two teams met up, the Wizards labeled it a funeral and won that matchup. This time, the Wizards went to their own funeral.

What started out as Rocky IV went from the good, the bad, and just plain ugly.

After a lackluster performance by the Wizards, the Celtics beat the Wizards, 110-102.

Another weak defensive game

The Wizards lapsed into their old habits of not playing defense. Washington just opened up the lanes for the Celtics to waltz right in, getting uncontested layups.

After the half, the Celtics crashed the glass and out-rebounded the Wizards 32-13.

Throughout the entire game, the Wizards  allowed the Celtics to get second and third chances.

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For example, Kelly Olynyk, off the Celtics’ bench, grabbed 11 rebounds.

Isaiah Thomas, the shortest player on the court, grabbed an offensive rebound over three Wizards’ players, and was able to tip it in.

The Celtics came into the game 27th in the league in rebounding, yet against Washington they had 20 offensive rebounds, beating their season high of 19. Washington only had 8 offensive rebounds.

Marcin Gortat had to sit in the first quarter after picking up two quick fouls.

Gortat was absent and ineffective against the Celtics. He only played 12 minutes, and pulled down 4 rebounds and 4 points.

The guards didn’t defend, either

The Wizards gave the Celtics too much airspace, allowing the Celtics to shoot long twos and three’ at will.

The Wizards, this late in the season, still haven’t learned to defend the 3-point line. That is unacceptable if the Wizards want to get past the first round of the playoffs.

Avery Bradley crushed the Wizards, shooting 60% from behind the arc, and had 20 points and 9 rebounds. 12 of those points came from 3-pointers.

Thomas led all scorers with 25 points.

With the exception of the second-unit, there was absolutely no defensive effort on the part of the Wizards.

The Celtics just outhustled and outplayed the Wizards.

The offense was stagnant…again

The second-unit single-handedly kept the Wizards competitive this game

During the first quarter, the Wizards led by 7 points, but then Boston went on a 12-0 run.

Thankfully, the second-unit stepped up. Jason Smith, who played quality minutes, knocked down a three to stop the bleeding.

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Smith gave it his all, and knocked down his last three, seconds before fouling out of the game in the fourth quarter. Smith would end the game with three 3-pointers, and 13 points.

Brandon Jennings also showed some energy.

Boston’s Marcus Smart fouled Jennings while he was pulling up for a three. Jennings would go to the line, and sink all three of his free throws.

Jennings also made a pretty play by faking a behind-the-back pass, while holding onto the ball and laying it in.

Jennings, however, received a personal defensive foul against Terry Rozier, who retaliated, knocking Jennings to the floor. Both received technicals, which cancelled each other other.

The Celtics obviously did their homework, because they didn’t give any airspace to Bojan Bogdanovic, who was 0 for 4 from downtown.

And the good looks that Bo Buckets had missed their mark. Bogdanovic still put in a good showing, and ended the game with 14 points.

Bradley Beal put in an effort, and knocked down three shots from downtown. But both Beal and Wall were held to under 20 points. Beal had 19 points, while Wall only had 16 points and 8 assists.

Markeiff Morris had 14 points, and Otto Porter, the number one 3-point shooter, only had 8 points, and was 0 for 3 from downtown.

The Wizards just played sluggishly, with no energy, sense of urgency, and just played as if there wasn’t a game on Monday.

The Celtics, on the other hand, sensed the importance of this moment and thoroughly dominated the Wizards on both ends of the court.

With Monday’s loss, the Celtics still hold onto the second seed, and the Wizards are now 2.5 games behind the Celtics, with the series split.

The lack of fight, will and determination that the Wizards displayed against Boston is not going to help them go the distance.

The Wizards have to return to basic basketball fundamentals – protect the ball, rebound, guard their man, defend the 3-point line, and make their free throws.

But most importantly, the Washington Wizards have to play with energy from start to finish, and stop playing from behind, and then try to play catch up in the waning minutes of the game.

Next: Wizards' Marcin Gortat Could Get Traded In Summer

On Wednesday, the Wizards return home to take on the Atlanta Hawks.