Winter Storm Jonas is over, yet the Washington Wizards found themselves buried on Monday night, falling 116-91 to the Boston Celtics.
The inclement weather gave the Wizards five days of rest due to a postponed matchup against the Utah Jazz. The Celtics on the other hand were on the second night of a back-to-back, a scenario where they have thrived. Since the 2014-15 season, the Celtics have the third best record in back-to-backs, trailing only the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors.
Isaiah Thomas once again led the Celtics’ offense, scoring 23 points for his sixth consecutive 20+ game. Meanwhile, all-star point guard John Wall was held to a mere eight points on 3-11 shooting, thanks to an impressive defensive effort from Boston’s backcourt.
“You always are excited when you’re a guy like Isaiah who’s got a chip on his shoulder to challenge himself against the best,” said Boston head coach Brad Stevens. “He’s got a nice swagger about him, but he also respects the game and respects everybody. But certainly you get excited to play against guys like John Wall.”
By limiting Wall’s penetration, the Celtics were able to hold the Wizards to just 24 points in the paint. Washington simply had no answer for Boston’s hounding defense, and coughed up a total of 20 turnovers.
“I didn’t play well, and when I’m not playing well, it goes down to everybody else,” said Wall, who was without his right-hand man Bradley Beal after taking a blow to the face on a Marcus Smart layup early in the second quarter.
Following a neck-and-neck first half that featured 14 lead changes, the Celtics started the third quarter with a 7-0 run and never looked back. Perhaps there was some rust from their snow day, as the Wizards’ lackadaisical defense was no match for the Celtics’ offensive weapons. Kelly Olynyk, who now has the second highest three-point percentage in the NBA since December 1st, continued his hot shooting streak and chipped in 13 points. Mid-range specialist Evan Turner also racked up 18 points, shooting 7-11 from the field.
With tonights’ blowout victory, the Celtics have won all four of their matchups against the Wizards this season by an average margin of 20 points.
“We just gave in,” said Washington head coach Randy Wittman. “It’s been that way all four games against this team. They just out-toughed us all four games.”
The Celtics are now on a three-game winning streak and hold the fifth seed in the log-jammed Eastern Conference standings. The Wizards, who many projected to make the playoffs this season, have been bumped down to tenth place.