The Washington Wizards rallied to beat the visiting Boston Celtics last night at Capital One Arena, they withstood an incredibly hot start from Boston's Jaylen Brown before taking control of the game. Brown was electric in the first quarter, scoring 21 of his team's 30 points and 21 of his 27 points of the night in that period. At one point, he was outscoring the Wizards as a team. Then, Wall took over and the Wizards started the second half strong before running to a 113-101 victory. It was a game with playoff type physicality, while the play wasn't great from either team in the first half, Washington played with an edge in the second quarter.
Wall had 29 points and 12 assists on the night, eclipsing the five thousand assist plateau in his career. That particular pass was to Markieff Morris in the third quarter on a foul line jump shot. John had a few too many turnovers, but that was the only negative of his performance. He was a demon on the defensive end and really set the tone for Washington, whether in transition or in the half court he manipulated the Boston defense as he saw fit. For the first time in the last few games, Washington competed at both ends of the floor and it became clear midway through the second quarter that Wall wasn't going to let them lose this game.
The Wizards held Brown scoreless in the second quarter and to just one shot, that's where they clawed their way back into the game. Cutting into an 11 point deficit and regaining the lead before trailing 54-52 at the half. Washington took off in the second half and it started by getting stops, Wall was leading the way. With him fighting to get through and over screens, Beal and Satoransky did the same. One of Washington's best lineups was when Coach Brooks had Wall, Beal, and Satoransky on the perimeter. It spaces the floor, allows them to fight through screens and switch if needed. Not to mention the fact that there's three capable facilitators on the floor. The Wizards hard work in the third period resulted in a 79-72 lead heading into the fourth period, they didn't look back from that point on.
John Wall is the first player in NBA history with at least 29 pts, 12 asts, 7 rebs, 3 blocks, 3 steals & 4 made 3 FG in a single game #Wizards
— David Devall (@McNubian) April 11, 2018
Otto Porter left the game in the first half with a leg strain, he's doubtful for tonight's game in Orlando. Wall is not expected to play as he's been held out of back-to-back's since his return, the Wizards are still in play for the sixth and seventh seeds, but they need to beat Orlando and see if their counterparts results favor them.
Wall. Washington showed a glimpse of their potential in the win over Boston, much of that had to do with Wall being close to "Playoff Wall" in this one. He set the tone on the defensive end of the floor, finishing the game with 3 blocks and 3 steals. He took the challenge of slowing down Brown (along with Satoransky) in the second quarter, he refused to be denied by screens, fighting through and over them with his length and athleticism. He had 7 turnovers, which is horrible, but the good outweighed the bad against Boston by miles. He was knocking down three's with confidence and he picked apart the Celtics defense over and over. Washington is a different team with him on the floor, as he continues to play he'll regain his timing and that burst is certainly there.
Beal. Brad didn't have the greatest night from a shooting standpoint, but it wasn't his 19 points that stood out. He really competed on the defensive end of the floor against the Celtics. He along with Wall and Satoransky played a pivotal role in that third quarter run, they handled the trio of Jaylen Brown, Jason Tatum, and Terry Rozier pretty well. Beal is a capable defender and some may have felt he was gassed tonight from the 40 plus minute outings he's had for much of he year. It looked as if it was just the workload on the defensive end, that's the end of the floor that really takes a lot out of a player. Wall's balanced that for years, but if Beal can get to that point, the Wizards get more dangerous. As much trouble as those two cause on the offensive end, they can be just as disruptive on the defensive end when focused.
Defense. Washington hasn't put together a full game of defense in quite a while, this was close but not quite. Brown's big first quarter withstanding, Washington really locked up in the second half and changed the tide with their defense midway through the second quarter. The Wizards didn't have their bigs switch as much, as the guards were getting around screens. At times, it was just the guards switching which kept the bigs close to the lane to hit the glass. It was a good step in the right direction, the Wizards held the Celtics to just 38% shooting from the floor
Playoff lineups? There were a couple of stretches against Boston in which Washington showed a couple of different personnel groupings. Some may have been because the availability of Wall, or just because with their being just one more regular season game left, it was time to see those lineups on the floor together. The Wall-Beal-Satoransky group will be fun in the postseason, they cause trouble on both ends of the floor. Sato played 20 minutes and had 7 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. He was playing that Shaun Livingston type "three" in that line up as the small forward, the caveat being that he can be the primary ball handler while Wall and Beal play offball. Not to mention he's another player with length that can get a rebound and push the ball. There was a bit more small ball lineups on the floor as well, with Oubre at the four or Mike Scott and Markieff Morris as the bigs. While we don't know what will be used when, it's clear that Brooks has a few options at his disposal.