Jordan Crawford narrowly edges out Kevin Seraphin for player of the game. Jordan has been much maligned by me and Wizard fans in general for his “questionable” shot selection but tonight he was a one man scoring machine. Jordan proved that he knows how to put the ball in the basket. He single-handedly kept the Wizards in the game and aside from Seraphin and Booker, was the only Wizard who scored with any regularity. Tonight was an example of the impact player that Jordan Crawford can become if and when he learns how to harness his immense talents. He twisted an ankle late in the fourth quarter and wasn’t on the court for the ill-fated last shot.
Emeka Okafor had an uneventful game. He finished with a stat line of 3 points, seven rebounds, one assist, and one lock.
He scored all three of his points in the 1st quarter, two on a Kevin Garnett goaltend and one from the line. He was a non-factor on both ends of the floor and was outplayed by both Booker and Seraphin. Perhaps he should be wary about losing minutes to both of those guys. However, Wizards fans shouldn’t expect Okafor to be as bad as he was for the first two games of the season.
Kevin Garnett wasn’t the KG that we’re used to seeing against the Wiz. He had 10 points in the first half but then only five the rest of the way. He did make some huge defensive plays/fouls at the end of the game that ensured the Celtics win but all in all his play was a little underwhelming.
The Fans were out in full force tonight. The Celtics fans came to the Verizon Center in droves, almost a 50-50 split. Even though the Wizards took a hard loss tonight, tonight was a great way to start the season. The atmosphere was circa 2005. In the final few minutes of the game, the Wizards fans were louder than I’ve ever heard, booing every time a “Let’s go Celtics” chant tried to get started. The crowd seemed to energize the team and help spark the furious comeback that almost toppled one of the NBA’s best teams. There was quite a bit of good tonight including the aforementioned play of Crawford, Seraphin, and Booker.
Closing games or the inability to do so have bit the Wizards for the second game in a row. The blueprint has been almost identical. The Wizards start slow, get in a hole, fight back, and give the game away in the last few minutes of the fourth. In the last outing, Price shot us out of the game. Tonight, there were two crucial turnovers with less than a minute left. The problem is that there is no “closer” on this team and closing by committee is obviously not working. At the end of the day, playing tough and being scrappy won’t get you into the playoffs; winning does and the Wizards won’t win until they learn how to close out games.
The starting lineup of Ariza, Booker, Okafor, Beal, and Price has looked awful for the second game in a row. They allowed the Celtics to jump out to an 11-2 lead before fans could take a seat. While Booker had a decent game, 11 points and 10 rebounds, these guys don’t mesh well as a unit. The Wizards were able to trim the lead to 7 at the half, due largely to the play of Seraphin and Crawford off of the bench. At the start of the second half this scenario was repeated, the Celtics extended the lead to double digits against the starters only for Crawford and the bench mob to come in and whittle the lead down again. Coach Witman has to shake up the lineup, maybe starting Jordan Crawford and having Bradley Beal coming off of the bench.