Wizards Stun Celtics 85-83

By Carla Peay, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: January 23, 2011

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WASHINGTON (BASN) — The woeful Washington Wizards were staring at the second leg of a back-to-back against the mighty Boston Celtics, who came into Verizon center sporting a gaudy 33-9 record.

By the end of the first quarter, the Celtics had a 15-point lead, and were shooting a blistering 68 percent from the floor. That would be the last time the Celtics outscored the Wizards in a quarter.

Led by Rashard Lewis’ 18 point performance, and John Wall’s 16 points, including a 3-point buzzer beater in the final seconds, the Wizards pulled off the 85-83 upset victory in front of a sold out crowd that clearly had divided loyalties.

“It felt like a road game with all the green and the four leaf clovers in the crowd,” said Nick Young. “It felt a little disrespectful,” he said with a good natured smile. Head coach Flip Saunders clearly felt the same way.

“We should get credit for a road win, with all these Boston Celtics fans in the crowd tonight,” joked Saunders, who credited his team for stepping up their defensive effort.

“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,” Saunders said.

The Wizards held the Celtics to just 27 points in the second half, while scoring 39 points, including 16 points from JaVale McGee and 11 points from Andray Blatche, who did his best not to get schooled by Kevin Garnett.

“Dray played with passion tonight. When he does that, he doesn’t settle. He didn’t back down to Kevin Garnett. You can throw a shot at us, but we’re not backing down,” Saunders said.

Celtics head coach Doc Rivers assessed the game much the same way.

“[Our] 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.”

“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,” Rivers said.

As for Wall’s buzzer beating three-pointer to pull out the victory, it was his only three point attempt all game, and showed his coach something he didn’t know the kid could do.

“I found out that John has a great bank shot from the three-point line,” Saunders said. Now comes the hard part. The Wizards are now 13-29, and despite the Celtic-heavy crowd making this feel like a road game, it wasn’t.

The Wizards have yet to win a game on the road this season, and are heading into rough territory. Five of their next six games are on the road, facing the Knicks, the Thunder, Grizzlies, Mavericks and Hornets.

“We have to play with that same intensity and passion on the road as we do at home,” Saunders said.

No time like the present.