The Washington Wizards fought back from double digit deficits in the first and second halves of the game tonight, but a flurry of turnovers by Kevin Seraphin and Martell Webster during the final momnets of regulation allowed the Celtics to force overtime and it was no contest in the extra period. Boston's increasingly physical defensive play, which was not punished by the referees and for which Washington had no answer, spelled doom for the Wizards tonight. Boston shot 27 more free throws than the Wizards tonight, the largest disparity in an NBA game this year.
The Celtics dominated ovrtime and won the game 100-94. Washington fell to 0-3 with the loss.
After the Celtics took an 86-84 lead on the basis of several Wizards turnovers and converted Boston foul shots, the Wizards put the ball in from out of bounds, looking to tie the game. Chris Singleton was fouled away from the ball and since the Celtics were in the penalty, Singleton went to the line for two free throws. Despite his spotty record as a free throw shooter, Singelton calmly sank both shots to tie the game at 86 with 33.1 seconds left.
Boston called time out and put the ball in from Washington's side of the court. Rajon Rondo faked a drive into the lane, backed off and easily sank an 17-foot jump shot over the hapless A.J Price. The shot gave Boston an 88-86 lead with 26.4 seconds left. Washington called a timeout and took the ball in from their own side of the court. Singleton took a pass from Price at the three point line and faked a pass to the baseline. When his defender left, Singleton charged the basket and threw down a vicious one-handed dunk over Kevin Garnett, who did not want to commit a foul. The dunk tied the game at 88, with Singleton scoring 12 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Boston took the ball back with 9.4 seconds left and Jeff Green passed the ball into Rondo in the front court. Rondo never passed, holding the ball until just before the buzzer before launching a 3-pointer. The shot bounced off the side of the rim to send the game to overtime. Rondo made a mistake on that play. With the Wizards already in the penalty, he should have driven to the bucket and dared the Wiz to play him tough and possibly send him or another Celtic player to the line.
The teams traded missed shots before AJ Price hit a runner in the lane and Garnett dropped a midrange jumper to tie the game at 90. Price then missed a hideous 3-pont shot and then fouled Rondo as he drove to the hoop. Price then left Rondo wide open for a jumper at the top of the key and Rondo made him pay, putting the Celtics up 92-90. Martell Webster countered with a falling away baseline jumper to tie the game at 92. Brandon Bass responded by driving to the lane and drawing a foul to get to the line. Bass made only one free throw, giving Boston a one point lead.
Bradley Beal drove to the baseline and threw the ball away, giving Boston the ball with a one point lead. Brandon Bass took a pass in the paint, scored quickly for the three point lead and Washington called time out. Boston led 95-92 with 1:51 left in overtime, having made their last three shots from the field.
After the timeout, Beal chucked an airball 3-pointer and then Price kicked the ball to give a shaky Boston possession new life. Garnett missed a midrange jumper and the Wiz got the rebound with just over one minute to play. Price was tripped by Garnett as he received a pass, Garnett's fifth foul. Beal dished to Singleton in the paint, who threw up another airball from point blank range. The Celtics got the ball, pushed it up the court quickly and Brandon Bass put in the layup to give Boston the commanding 97-92 lead. It was all but over.
Seraphin missed a jump hook from 10 feet and Singleton fouled Paul Pierce on the rebound. The Celtics committed a five second violation trying to get the ball in bounds, giving the ball back to Washington with no damage done. However,with only 24.1 second left, Washington had little hope.
Beal missed a long three pointer, Seraphin grabbed the rebound and missed a 12-footer and then the Beal pushed Garnett from behind on the rebound, sending Garnett to the line with 13.9 second left. Garnett calmly sank both free throws to give Washington a 99-92 lead. Boston outscored Washington 11-4 in the overtime by that point.
Washington then turned the ball over on the in bounds pass and the Wizards, for some reason, fouled Paul Pierce with five seconds to play, enabling Pierce to pad his stats a bit. Pierce made one of two to stretch the lead to 100-92. Beal came down and made an uncontesed layup, ending the game at 100-94. Boston improves to 2-2 on the season, with both wins coming against the Wizards.
Chris Singleton played very well, particularly in the fourth quarter, finishing with 14 points [6-10 FG], 5 rebounds and three steals. Martell Webster added 16 points and 6 rebounds to go with some tough defense in 35 minutes.
Kevin Seraphin got the better of Kevin Garnett when the two tangled in the last game, but Garnett got his revenge tonight. Seraphin got 16 points and 9 rebounds, but he required 19 shots to do it and he committed 6 turnovers; a very inefficient night. Garnett was prepared for him this time and it wasn't much of a contest between them. Seraphin had a few moment, but I thought Garnett clearly outplayed him, finishing with 20 points and 13 rebounds.
Starting center Emeka Okafor scored only two points and grabbed one rebound in a measly 11 minutes. It is fair to wonder why Okafor was acquired and why he is being paid so lavishly if he is clearly not regarded as an important part of the team. The other player who came over in the offseason trade, Trevor Ariza, continued to build houses with bricks, missing 5 of 6 shots and contributing almost nothing to the team...again.
AJ Price and Bradley Beal scored 31 points between them and got almost all the minutes in the backcourt tonight. It was Beal's best game and he looked like a real NBA player tonight, albeit one prone to lots of rookie mistakes and not to be trusted in crunch time. Jamal Crawford was clearly injured tonight and played only 15 minutes.
Wizards Player of the Game: Chris Singleton: 14 points, 5 Reb, 3 steals
Wizards Goat of the Game: Kevin Seraphin: 16 points, 8-19 FG, 9 Reb, 6 TO
PHOTO: Glenn Burke/US Presswire