September 21, 2019

Washington Wizards Game 29 Review: Wizards Dominate Celtics in Series Finale

FORMER CELTICS LEAD WIZARDS PAST BOSTON

To continue their hot start at home, the Washington Wizards defeated the Boston Celtics — in rematch of an overtime thriller — 101-88 inside the Verizon Center on Saturday night.

Right from the get-go, the Wizards had control. 

Behind a 13-0 run, Washington jumped out to a 30-12 lead by the end of the first quarter. Thanks to 14 points from Paul Pierce in the first half alone, the Wizards entered the break with a 56-39 lead that they would not give away.

Nearly 20 days ago, the Wizards found themselves in a similar situation at home. In the fourth quarter, Washington was outscored 34-18 as the Celtics sent the game into overtime. Two overtime periods later, the Wizards had finished the deal.

Now without Rajon Rando, who the team recently traded away, the Celtics couldn’t digout of their early hole. And while the current Boston players struggled, a pair of former Celtics thrived for the Wizards.

To lead the way, Kris Humphries scored 18 points and added nine rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench. Paul Pierce, meanwhile, sunk was 3 of 5 from behind the three-point line to finish with 17 points. John Wall, who produced yet another highlight-reel play in the first quarter, ended the game with 12 points and seven assists.

The Wizards (21-8, 14-4 at home) have won the three-game season series versus the Celtics 2-1 with the win. Next up, they begin a challenging road test where they face some of the best that the Western Conference has to offer.

First up, Washington heads to Houston for a matchup with the Houston Rockets (21-7). Tipoff from the Toyota Center is set for 8 p.m. ET on Monday, Dec. 29.

FIVE REACTIONS

  1. In what will likely become his usual role with Nene Hilario back in the starting lineup, Kris Humphries thrived in his time off the bench. Over the offseason, the Wizards signed him for this exact role and that move is appearing to pay off for head coach Randy Wittman and general manager Ernie Grunfeld.
  2. Along with Humphries, Otto Porter Jr. (12 points) and Kevin Seraphin (10 points) scored in double-figures off the bench while Rasual Butler added eight points. Last season, it was Washington’s depth that proved to be key in their run to the postseason. Early on, it appears to be a strength yet again.
  3. On the boards, the Wizards were dominant. Marcin Gortat finished with game-high 10 rebounds and Humphries grabbed nine. Washington outrebounded Boston 16-6 in the first quarter and that will almost always translate into a positive view of the scoreboard. By the end of the game, the Wizards had grabbed 48 rebounds and 39 of them came on the defensive end, which means they did a good job eliminating second-chance-opportunities for the Celtics.
  4. The Wizards shot an even 50-percent from the floor (45 of 90). Of their 101 points, 44 of them came in the paint. They took just 13 three-points shots and 10 free throws, which means they Wizards did a nice job sharing the basketball (28 assists) and finding quality shots in high percentage areas. They ran a crisp and clean offense all night long.
  5. Looking ahead, the Wizards will be running the gauntlet on this season-long five-game road trip. Before returning home on Jan. 7, they’ll face the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Hornets in that order. Combined, their next five opponents have a record of 90-61. This will certainly be a tell-all road trip where we’ll learn a lot about where the Wizards currently stand.
About Brian Skinnell

Brian Skinnell is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Nationals and college football. He is a born-and-raised follower of Washington, D.C. sports, “The” Ohio State Buckeyes and auto racing. A graduate of Shepherd University in December of 2014, he has a degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies with a Concentration in Sports Communications. Prior to joining District Sports Page (for his second stint), he spent time with Rant Sports, Yahoo Sports and the Washington Redskins. For his day job, he is an Editor for Team Velocity Marketing. Follow him on Twitter @Brian_Skinnell.

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