"We played like soldiers," said Nick Young after the win against the Boston Celtics.
What a game for the Wiz Kids. It felt like a road game as most of the stadium was filled up by the many bandwagon Boston Celtics fans. This was a surprise, nobody and I mean nobody, expected the Wizards to win. Who would have thought the Washington Wizards would have won with their best scorer, Nick Young shooting 1 for 13.
"I told Nick after the game, we played hard after the game, you played hard defensively, but you were killing us offensively, kiddingly" Flip stated after the game.
You want to talk about surprise, how bout that Mustafa Shakur. Yeah, Tupac's little brother. He was fun to watch as he did not know the offense and told me after the game that he was surprised since he got the phone call last night. He poured in 5 points with 5 assist and 2 rebounds in only 10 minutes of play. He doesnt' even know the offense yet.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," Mustafa later added, "I'm thankful to be here."
Flip went as far to say that he could have been player of the game! "I thought he played great, I thought he could have been player of the game, John picks up a foul, and we are down 15 and here comes a guy who doesn't really know much about our offense, made a couple of plays for himself and looked like he belong in there." AMEN!
Looks like the Wizards got themselves a keeper with Mustafa, the former University of Airzona Wild Cat. Hopefully he can give some good minutes to give John some rest.
The Celtics had plenty of chances of putting this game away or even take a big lead late in the 4th, but Ray Allen and Paul Pierce couldn't hit key shots. Hell, Ray Allen missed a dunk!
I don't understand why they didn't because it felt like a home game to begin with for the Celtics. "It felt like a road game, I saw all kind of green and four leaf clovers," Nick Young described it.
He added that the Wizards did not get caught up with the hype as the Wizards had a horrible first quarter as they were down 20 to 35. Shooting only 36% with Boston shooting a whooping 68%. The night before, the Wizards had a horrible 3rd quarter, which is a reoccuring night mare, it's like the 3rd quarter is a quarter they hate. This time around the Wizards had a great 3rd quarter.
John Wall showed great poise and was growing in front of our very eyes. He did have some turnovers I bet he would wish he had back but he finished up with 16 points, 4 assist and 6 rebounds. Overall, a great game by John.
This game was carried by Rashard Lewis and Andray Blatche. Rashard for his leadership and range of playing different positions, Flip vouched, "we play him at the 3 (small forward), we can post him up and go against size, we can put him at the 4 (power forward) and stretch him out, so it gives us flexibility as we play." Blatche can be frustrating to watch just like the rest of the team but he came out with great intensity in the 2nd half.
There was a game in a game, mostly mind games. Andray Blatche v.s Kevin Garnett. Those two, every time they get together, it seems like they are about to duke it out. Tonight showed that there may be some kind of animosity towards each other on the court. They were pushing and shoving and it seemed like KG had the best of Blatche in the first half but it changed in the 2nd as Blatche showed composure and lead this team to their best win of the season. Blatche showed lots of emotion on the court, if only he could show that kind of emotion every game.
Admitting to something is hard, but I was guilty of saying on twitter that the Wizards had already lost at half time but was I dead wrong or what!
I would like to add that Al Thornton, told me yesterday before the Suns game, that the Wizards would win by 2 against the Celtics. Next time, I'm going to ask him for some lottery numbers.
What I Saw/Heard
* 20,278 were estimated at the Verizon Center, first time I actually believed the numbers.
* Kevin Garnett/Andray Blatche Shoes
* Mustafa Shakur told me that he has not talked to Gilbert Arenas since the summer time (Arenas went to Arizona as well).
Celtics/Wizards Box Scores
|Kevin Garnett, PF||35||7-13||0-0||3-4||1||3||4||2||1||1||1||1||+2||17|
|Paul Pierce, SF||26||4-10||2-4||2-4||1||7||8||2||0||0||1||5||+3||12|
|Semih Erden, C||25||3-6||0-0||0-0||4||7||11||0||0||0||2||4||+5||6|
|Ray Allen, SG||37||6-15||2-8||2-3||0||5||5||2||1||0||2||1||+1||16|
|Rajon Rondo, PG||35||6-12||0-1||1-1||0||2||2||9||2||0||4||4||+6||13|
|Marquis Daniels, SG||25||1-3||0-0||2-3||1||1||2||1||1||1||0||1||-4||4|
|Nate Robinson, PG||13||3-8||0-2||0-0||0||1||1||2||1||0||0||1||-8||6|
|Von Wafer, SG||8||0-1||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||1||0||1||0||0||-4||0|
|Glen Davis, PF||36||4-11||0-0||1-3||2||4||6||1||1||0||0||5||-11||9|
|Shaquille O'Neal, C||DNP SORE RIGHT KNEE|
|Jermaine O'Neal, C||DNP SORE LEFT KNEE|
|Luke Harangody, F||DNP COACH'S DECISION|
Fast break points: 8
Points in the paint: 38
Team TO ( points off ): 12 (9)
|Rashard Lewis, PF||34||7-13||0-1||4-4||4||7||11||0||0||0||3||4||+1||18|
|Andray Blatche, PF||32||5-12||0-0||1-2||1||4||5||3||1||1||1||2||-1||11|
|JaVale McGee, C||38||6-11||0-0||4-5||3||3||6||0||0||3||0||0||-1||16|
|Nick Young, SG||40||1-13||0-3||4-5||0||4||4||2||1||0||1||2||-6||6|
|John Wall, PG||38||7-12||1-1||1-3||1||5||6||4||0||0||5||5||-4||16|
|Cartier Martin, GF||8||1-4||0-1||1-2||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||+8||3|
|Al Thornton, SF||16||3-5||0-1||2-4||1||4||5||0||0||0||1||2||+3||8|
|Mustafa Shakur, PG||10||2-4||0-2||1-1||1||1||2||5||0||2||0||3||+6||5|
|Yi Jianlian, PF||9||1-2||0-0||0-0||0||3||3||0||0||0||1||1||0||2|
|Trevor Booker, C||4||0-1||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||+1||0|
|Kevin Seraphin, F||10||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||1||+3||0|
|Hilton Armstrong, C||DNP COACH'S DECISION|
Fast break points: 10
Points in the paint: 40
Team TO ( points off ): 12 (11)
Wizards/Celtics Post Game Quotes Courtesy of The Washington Wizards PR Department
WIZARDS HEAD COACH FLIP SAUNDERS
On the second half:
Especially after the poor performance in the first half and how we ended the game last night against Phoenix, we were able to bounce back against a signature team. It was a very hard fought, aggressive game, a game where we were literally on the ropes in that first quarter. Based on what happened last night we could have definitely gone south and they fought through it so that was a credit, not only to Nick (Young), but the whole team.”
On what he learned about his team tonight:
“I think I learned what I’ve been trying to tell them, that when we play defense, we give ourselves a chance to play anybody. Our defense was great in the second half. We did a better job, we took advantages of some mismatches and I found out that John has a great bank shot from the three-point line.”
WIZARDS FORWARD ANDRAY BLATCHE
On the difference in the second half:
"The third quarter was one of the best we have had all season. We came out and attacked the rim and were aggressive."
On playing back to back games at home:
"It was an adjustment. Phoenix definitely got on a run and the Celtics will beat you down offensively and defensively in the half court. We just plowed through it and we always want to take care of home and that's what we did."
WIZARDS GUARD JOHN WALL
On the game:
“We just did a great job of stopping them down the stretch. We knew it was going to be tough, but we came up with the key stops and made shots down the stretch.”
On his play:
“I think I was more aggressive tonight. I think in the last game I was a little passive, not looking to score. Tonight, I wanted to get into the paint to end the game.”
On his three-point bank shot:
“I didn’t call it, but I knew it was going to hit backboard but I thought it was going to be a hard brick. It could have broken the backboard, but it went in for us and it was a game changer. We went up three and it was a big turning point for us.”
CELTICS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS
On the game:
“We came out, played hard, got a big lead and then I think we went into show time from (the second quarter) on. I really think we deserved to lose the game, I felt that way almost at half time and definitely by the third quarter. You have to give Washington a lot of credit.”
“My problem was our pace; we were walking the ball up the floor – we dribbled the life out of the game. We didn’t go to the post and it was a jump shooting contest. When you’re up by 10 or 15, jump shots are easy; when you know you’ve squandered the lead, and then you’re wide open, all of a sudden that trigger gets a little tighter and I think that happened tonight.”
On Boston’s defense:
“The defense was fine; I just thought (Washington) played much harder than we did in the second half. Think about all of the loose balls, the tips; they dominated the 50/50 game.”
On John Wall:
“We defended him okay; he plays hard, he’s aggressive, he’s got a great step and speed. He is very competitive; he made some big plays. He does a lot of things and he plays far beyond his age.”
CELTICS FORWARD KEVIN GARNETT
On the game:
“We got really good shots but we just didn’t make them. We got the shots when we wanted to but John Wall hit a tough shot at the end. I thought we got really good shots and good looks. They came out and did a good job of executing and John Wall hit an unbelievable shot.”
“The first half definitely dictates the pace, once we had the lead we should have stretched that a little, but we didn’t. You can’t give up big leads like that, they play really well at home and we knew that. It’s all about progress, we’ll look at this and learn from it. “
CELTICS FORWARD PAUL PIERCE
On the lack of offense:
“It was one of those mental games. It was a combination of us not moving the ball and a combination of us not making shots. I thought we really got some good looks throughout the game in the fourth. When we score 80 points, we know that’s ball movement, making the extra passes, and getting defensive stops. No way, with all the weapons, should we be in the eighties.”
On losing the lead and the game:
“When you give a team life and let them back in the game, you allow the basketball gods to come into play. You see what happens. John Wall makes a bank shot and that puts them ahead. It just came back to haunt us.”
On his last shot:
“I felt good, got a great look. It just wasn’t my night.”