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A Win is A Win: Celtics 89, Wizards 86

ESPN Box Score

It’s never easy for Celtics on back-to-backs. After the past three years, through hell and high water, that has been the story with this franchise. Tonight was no exception, as the Celtics escaped Washington D.C. with a three-point victory against the frontrunner for worst team in the Eastern Conference this year.

Before I get too negative, let’s look at the bright side for a little bit here. The Celtics got their first victory of the season tonight. That’s a good thing. More often than not they have tended to collapse late and give away these road games against underwhelming opponents (whether it’s Game 3 or 43) and although they tried tonight, it did not happen. Paul Pierce broke out of his shooting funk from last night to lead the charge with 27 points, Kevin Garnett was smooth from the outside (15 points) and Jared Sullinger got the start and did some nice work on the glass (7 rebounds) during over a career-high 30 minutes of action.

Unfortunately, that’s all the positivity I’m feeling at this point. The C’s jumped out to a 19-2 lead in the first quarter and made the strong start seem like a distant memory by the time the clock hit zero in Washington. The Wizards’ bench combined for 62 of their 86 points, behind stellar efforts from Jordan Crawford and Kevin Seraphin as they chipped away at a C’s lead over the final 42 minutes of the game, before falling short over the final two minutes in their home opener.

The result may have turned out differently if Crawford, who was controlling the game offensively for Washington for the first three quarters, didn’t pull up with a leg injury early in the fourth quarter. He returned to the game late, but looked hobbled. The likes of Jannero Pargo and Cartier Martin kept the Wizards close while Crawford was out but the duo couldn’t put the¬†exclamation¬†point on a comeback for the hosts.

I’ll dig into this one more later tonight (with full grades) but for now, the things to remember are:

1. The newcomers are still struggling.

2. The defense is still an issue.

3. There is plenty to work to be done for Doc and company over the next three days in both of these departments.

However, one thing we can all take solace in: the Lakers are 0-3 and the Celtics are not. Enjoy your Saturday night folks.

  • elroz

    Jeff Green has serious issue finishing near the rim – yes he had a great drive and dunk, but on another 3 occasions he was near the basket with the ball, a few moments before anybody was on him, and he laid up this weak, scared, hesitant crap.

    Terry and Lee couldn't hit anything tonight…Ray Allen shot 8-12 of which 6-10 was from the 3-point line.
    Hopefully Terry and Lee will improve. Rondo has to get Terry involved better – Terry seems to get the ball for just a jumper – they don't let him handle the ball or set picks for him…that's is not good. Let Terry be Terry!

    • 2P2D

      Ray who? Never heard of him.

  • High Rollers

    The mental hurdle of winning a real game together has been officially cleared. That's all I needed to know for the third game of the season. In a segababa situation as well.

    Stay positive.

  • Phil

    That was a little more like what we were expecting going into the Milwaukee game; the bench had serious problems while the starters played strong enough to win. We'd all like them to play like championship contenders, not playoff contenders, but its a step in the right direction at least.

    The bench numbers are a little inflated for the Wizards because they played their best two players (with Wall and Nene out) off the bench, but 62 is still unacceptable. Bench defense is the thing most affected by the lack of continuity though, so I'm not sounding any alarms there.

    I liked seeing Green at the 3 for most of the game. A one dimensional player who did nothing but shoot open threes seems like they would fit in his spot better, but the team's the team at this point. I tend to agree with Doc that the Celtics missed a lot of open shots (I noticed Lee most of all,) but its also clear that without Terry functioning, they lack much of a threat from the three point line, which leads to everyone sagging down into the paint. Progress is coming slower than I'd like, but its still a win.

  • JR99

    A lot of positives in this game. No question the Cs are still a work in progress. But the biggest unknown was mostly answered tonight: looks like KG is gonna be just fine. Before tonight, that wasn't clear… he hadn't once reached last season's level. Tonight, he got to that general neighborhood, and that's a huge relief.

    Also, PP did some great PP-stuff, and Rondo played GREAT one-on-one D for the first time this year. The team in general had some nice stretches of excellent D, and some pretty good offense too, here and there. All in all, as early-work-in-progress games go, tonight was pretty good.

    I hope no one expected the Cs to go from jelling to blowing out teams in one game. It’s gonna take a little time. Tonight was a solid step forward. Of course, there are still problems to solve. The bench has a way to go. Doc's gotta find the right combos for each unit. And the Cs need to increase their intensity overall. I think it’ll all be done in time. Good game.

  • Morpheus

    I really hope Doc figures out this Terry situation.He scores best with ball in hand. Doc needs to let Jet be Jet, he will be kidding himself if he thinks he can utilise Jet in a different way. I know that’s easier said than done. Maybe when we need offense, Jet can be the primary ball handler when we need to score during droughts.

    I am optimistic the Cs will all figure it out soon enough.

  • Tos


    I couldn’t agree more. They’re forcing Jet to be a spot- up shooter and we are seeing how well that’s going to work out.

  • CelticsBIG3

    Pretty long night I guess. Where are the grades and the deeper digging?