Rim protection has been the Achilles’ heel of the Boston Celtics all season long. Their season finale was no exception.
Boston and Washington went back and forth for the majority of Wednesday night’s contest at TD Garden. Despite allowing the Wizards to score 68 points during the first half, the Celtics were within 78-73 with 4:09 left in the third. But that’s when the interior defense began to falter, allowing Washington to pull away for good.
The Wizards canned a 3-pointer to climb on top 81-73 and then went on a rampage in the paint. Their final 10 points of the quarter were either scored in the painted area or off of free throws that were the result of a foul drawn in the paint. Marcin Gortat accounted for six of those 10 points, while Nene and John Wall added in two apiece.
Meanwhile, the Celtics couldn’t get anything going at the other end of the court. Their only two points over the final four minutes arrived via free throws from Jeff Green.
The combination of Washington’s interior scoring and Boston’s inability to put points on the board resulted in a 13-2 run by the Wizards to close the frame. That run put them on top 91-75 heading into the final quarter. The lead eventually grew to as many as 26 points during the final quarter, allowing the Wizards to grab a 118-102 victory to close their season.
Key Box Score Line
Kelly Olynyk did it again on Wednesday night. He scored a team-high 24 points against Washington, marking his third consecutive game with at least 24 points. The performance also marked the third consecutive game in which Olynyk led Boston in scoring.
Long-range shots had been key to helping Olynyk put up big numbers during his previous two games, but all of his work was done inside the arc on Wednesday. He shot 10-of-14 from the field on 2-pointers and shot 4-of-5 from the free-throw line.
There’s no questioning that Olynyk showed great promise as an NBA scorer toward the end of the Celtics season. However, that’s not the only area in which he excelled. The rookie big man also grabbed seven rebounds against the Wizards and dished out five assists, all while committing just one turnover. He averaged 9.3 rebounds per game and 3.7 assists per game over his final three games.
Not too bad for a rookie. Well, former rookie. Olynyk’s first campaign is now in the books, and the Celtics will be looking for him to come back as a sophomore for many more performances like the one he put forth during Boston’s season finale.
Box Score Nuggets
- Washington led from start to finish.
- Phil Pressey recorded a game-high 10 assists.
- Boston played with only eight available bodies.
- The teams combined for 50 assists (26 for Washington and 24 for Boston).
- Both teams scored 27 points during the fourth quarter.
- Bradley Beal scored a game-high 27 points.
- Kelly Olynyk led the Celtics with 24 points.
- Olynyk shot 10-of-14 on 2-pointers.
- Marcin Gortat, who grabbed 10 rebounds, was the only player in the game who grabbed more than seven boards.
- All four of Washington's starters who committed a personal foul finished with three fouls on the night.
- Jeff Green scored 20 points for the Celtics.
- Chris Johnson grabbed a game-high four steals.
- Washington scored 56 points in the paint.
- The Celtics made as many free throws, 17, as the Wizards attempted.
- Gortat (two) and Joel Anthony (one) were the only players to block a shot in the game.
Quote of the Night
I just told him this in front of the team, he’s as good of a pro as we have. He shows up every day, he’s the first one to the gym on the road, he’s the first one to the gym at home, he takes care of his body as well or better than any of our players on our team nutrition-wise, stretching-wise, in the weight room. And his individual workouts are deliberate to what applies to making his game good. Brad Stevens on why Brandon Bass deserved to win this season's Red Auerbach AwardMore quotes >>