3 Takeaways from the Washington Wizards’ OT Loss to the Boston Celtics

Washington Wizards John Wall (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Washington Wizards John Wall (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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In what felt like a showcase between John Wall and Kyrie Irving at times, Wednesday night’s match-up between the Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics was one of the most memorable games of the season. The Wizards fell 130-125 to the Celtics in front of the Capital One Arena crowd.

Wall finished with 34 points, 6 rebounds, and 13 assists in 41 minutes, but it wasn’t enough to outlast Irving’s 38 points. Bradley Beal and Jeff Green, who started in place for the injured Otto Porter, each chipped in with 22 points. Kelly Oubre Jr. came off the bench to score 20 points.

Overtime is becoming customary in this rivalry; three of their last four meeting have extended beyond regulation. The win gave Boston (17-10) its seventh consecutive victory while Washington (11-17) has now lost three in a row. The Wizards, who are currently 1.5 games out of the 8-seed in the Eastern Conference, will look to rebound on Friday night when they visit the Brooklyn Nets (11-18).

Here’s three takeaways from tonight’s game:

Turnovers: The Wizards were clearly the better team in the first half, heading to the locker room up 55-46 on the Celtics. A big part of their first-half success was that they only committed four turnovers. In the third quarter alone though, they had seven, which coincided with the Wizards surrendering their lead. Those turnovers led to easy shots for Boston, shooting more than 60 percent in the quarter and outscoring the Washington 38-22.

Points in the paint: Wall was unstoppable in the fourth quarter and overtime, thanks in large part to his constant driving to the rim. He was scoring at will at the basket. As noted in the game’s preview, with Al Horford out and Aron Baynes hobbled, the Celtics were thin down low and was an area the Wizards needed to take advantage of, which they did. Washington managed to force Daniel Theis to foul out in 14 minutes because of their relentless attack. When all was said and done, Washington scored 60 points in the paint behind several clutch layups from Wall to keep the Wizards in the game, including 6 points in the final minute of regulation all at the rim. Boston’s lack of inside presence played a part in Beal forcing overtime when he rebounded his own missed free throw to tie the game at 113-113 in the final seconds.

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Free-throw shooting and fouls: The Wizards were able to hold the Celtics to just 29 percent shooting from three, well below their season average of 36 percent. Unfortunately, the Celtics were able to make up for that at the free-throw line. Boston didn’t miss a single one of its 25 free-throws, which was a major factor down the stretch. The Wizards put the Celtics on the line with their 27 committed fouls, more than their season average. This proved costly as various Wizards faced foul trouble, especially when Beal had to sit in the third and fourth quarters with four fouls.