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Celtics Overtime is a postgame feature providing extra news, notes and analysis from each game. Boston defeated the Washington Wizards, 100-92, on Monday night in Boston, MA.
They're baaaack. Thought the Boston Celtics would struggle all season long? You would be foolish to think so. Ray Allen and the C's took care of business against the Washington Wizards, beating the lowly Wiz crew 100-92 to complete the sweep of the home-and-home series that started on Sunday night in Washington D.C.
Is that really surprising? No, not really. The Wizards were 0-3 coming into the series -- they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers AND Milwaukee Bucks in the process -- and are now 0-5 after two whoopins' at the hands of the Celtics. Job well done.
What led to the Celtics' second win over Washington and third in a row? Well, this.
RAY ALLEN (NOT ALBERT PUJOLS) IS THE MACHINE
Remember that ESPN SportsCenter commercial with Albert Pujols and they were calling him a machine? Well, ESPN was wrong. The REAL machine in the sports world is Ray Allen. He could make a shot blindfolder. Let's take that further - he could make a shot blindfolder and sitting in Section 324 of the garden. He's just that good, and anyone who watches knows that. For that reason, it wasn't a surprise that Allen led the game in scoring with 27 points while making 6-of-7 three pointers. In short, he's money. But guess what? Allen wasn't healthy tonight, coming down with a cold on Sunday night. No matter, because he STILL lit up the Wizards. Need any more proof that Allen is the greatest shooter?
GREG STIEMSMA IS FOR REAL, EARNING PLAYING TIME
What has it been, all of three weeks? In that time, Greg Stiemsma has gone from training camp invitee to making the roster to starting for the Boston Celtics. Is there anything the Stiemer can't do? Stiemsma started in place of an "injured" Jermaine O'Neal (after the game, I asked JO if he had a hamstring injury. He told me it's not an injury, and he came to the arena today with the intention of playing, but Celtics trainer Ed Lacerte advised Doc Rivers not to play him). In his start, he dominated the competition. Dare I say, he steimrolled the Wizards? Stiemsma had 13 points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes, and of course a couple of blocks to go along with that. He's proving that he deserves minutes on this basketball team. The problem is, where will he get them? Chris Wilcox is working his way back, and will have the chance to earn his minutes back (because the Celtics aren't going to pay him $3 million to ride the pine). Stiemsma has only been in the line up because of an injury to Wilcox, and tonight due to O'Neal's hamstring injury..oh, wait, "non-injury" (sorry about that, JO). But as long as Stiemsma continues to play like this, he will stick around with the Celtics.
PAUL PIERCE DOESN'T NEED PRACTICE. THAT'S THE TRUTH.
If Ray Allen is the machine, Paul Pierce is an iron man. Pierce has had all of 15 minutes of practice since returning to the lineup on Friday night in the home opener against the Detroit Pistons. Since then, he's been producing solidly. Pierce had 21 points and right rebounds in 34 minutes -- over 10 more minutes than he had in the home opener -- and looked like his old self all night long. It goes without saying that the Celtics will need Pierce to be his Hall of Fame self is the team is going to go anywhere this season. Monday's performance proved that he's going to be just fine. Count on it.
BOTTOM LINE: The Celtics haven't exactly beaten the greatest teams in the world during their three-game winning streak -- the Pistons once and the Wizards twice -- but they are looking a lot better than they did in their 0-3 start. That's a big step forward, as Boston will need to bring its 'A' game to challenge the Miami Heat for Eastern Conference supremacy (a task they may not be able to do even with a perfect team this season). But it's a step in the right direction. At this point, that's what you like to see. As Keyon Dooling said in the locker room, the C's are taking baby steps, but they are moving in the right direction.
NEXT UP: The Celtics will look to run their winning streak to four games when they face the big-bad New Jersey Nets (OK, just the BAD Nets) on Wednesday night at TD Garden. New Jersey is 1-5 and is in no condition to challenge any team for anything this season. Just like the series with Washington, it should be an easy win for the Celtics.
BOSTON - Ray Allen scored 27 points, making 6-of-7 three pointers in the process, as the Boston Celtics pulled away late in the fourth quarter to capture a 100-92 victory over the Washington Wizards on Monday night at TD Garden.
Boston improved to 3-3 and completed a two-game sweep of the Wizards (0-5), who they also played on New Year's Day down in Washington D.C. and defeated 94-86. The Celtics and Wizards will meet again twice more this season.
Paul Pierce, playing in his third game of the season, had a season-high 21 points and eight rebounds. Greg Stiemsma, who started in place of an injured Jermaine O'Neal, had an impressive outing, totaling 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Rajon Rondo scored six points but had 12 assists and six rebounds while Brandon Bass scored 12 off the bench.
Andray Blatche scored 28 points to lead the Wizards, who shot 00.0 percent. JaVale McGee finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds and Nick Young added 10 points. John Wall had 11 points, eight assists and three rebounds in the loss.
Boston returns to action on Wednesday night when it hosts the New Jersey Nets.
BOSTON - Ray Allen carried the Boston Celtics in the first half, totaling 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting, but the C's trail the Washington Wizards, 48-47, at halftime in the home-and-home series finale on Monday night at TD Garden.
Greg Stiemsma, who started in place of an injured Jermaine O'Neal, started strong with four early points and two blocks. He finished the half five points, five rebounds and two assists. Paul Pierce, playing in his third game of the season, had 10 points and four boards and both Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass scored six points in the half for Boston.
Andray Blatche led the Wizards with 12 points. JaVale McGee had eight points and 10 rebounds while Rashard Lewisscored seven points and John Wall totaled six points and three assists in 19 minutes for Washington.
Boston went ahead 14-6 early in the first quarter, but the Wizards rallied back to grab a 24-23 lead after one quarter. The Wizards and Celtics both scored 24 points in the quarter as Washington maintained its one point lead at the break.
BOSTON - It was an early night for Washington Wizards head coach Flip Saunders, who was ejected from the game after receiving two technical fouls for grabbing an official and chasing him out onto the court in his team's game against the Boston Celtics on Monday night at TD Garden.
Saunders, who was apparently upset about a non-foul call on a Greg Stiemsma block of a Wizards' three-pointer, became irate with an official and follow him all the way out to center court, where the referees assessed him two technical fouls.
The Wizards weren't done with the technicals, either, finishing the first quarter with four total. After Saunders was assessed two, Wizards star point guard John Wall was T'd up after a dunk for slamming the ball in Stiemsma's face. The team was also assessed a technical foul for a defensive three seconds violation.
BOSTON - Greg Stiemsma will make his first career start for the Boston Celtics when the C's host the Washington Wizards in the finale of a home-and-home, back-to-back series on Monday night at TD Garden.
Stiemsma, the NBADL Defensive Player of the Year last season, was invited to Celtics training camp and made the team over fellow bigs Michael Sweetney, Jamal Sampson and swingman Gilbert Brown. Stiemsma has played in three games for the Celtics this season, averaging 2.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks. In his first game, Stiemsma had six blocks in a loss to the New Orleans Hornets.
Jermaine O'Neal suffered an injury on Sunday in the win over the Wizards, which according to Celtics head coach Doc Rivers wasn't serious, and will be inactive for Monday's game. Chris Wilcox, who was dealing with a shoulder injury, will return to action tonight. In two games, Wilcox has averaged 2.0 points and 3.0 rebounds for Boston.
Coming off their second win of the season on Sunday evening, the Boston Celtics will face the Washington Wizards for the second straight night, this time at TD Garden in Boston, MA, at 7:30 p.m. EDT. Boston is coming off a 94-86 win over Washington, marking the Celtics' first road win of the season. Now, they'll look to capture the back-to-back sweep.
Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo paced the Celtics in the win, combining to total 42 points, 20 rebounds and 17 assists. Garnett had a game-high 24 points and nine rebounds and Rondo had a triple-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists for Boston, which made 37-of-74 field goals to shoot an even 50 percent from the floor.
Paul Pierce, playing in his second game back from a right heel injury, had nine points, six rebounds and three assists in 28 minutes and Ray Allen scored 13 points. Jermaine O'Neal had eight points and three boards in the Celtics' victory.
John Wall scored 19 points and had eight assists and seven rebounds for Washington, which shot 41 percent on 32-of-78 shooting. Nick Young scored 18 points, JaVale McGee added 16 points and 14 boards to go along with five blocks.
Boston and Washington met four times last season, with each team winning two times. After Monday night's game between the Celtics and Wizards, the two teams will play twice more.
Celtics Overtime is a postgame feature providing extra news, notes and analysis from each game. Boston defeated the Washington Wizards, 94-86, on New Year's Day in Washington D.C.
No one expects the Boston Celtics to compete for a championship this season, but there are plenty of expectations that are reasonable. One of which is beating the bad teams. After doing so twice, it looks like things are returning to order.
Boston lost its first three games of the season, losing to two top tier teams in the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat before being blown out by the rebuilding New Orleans Hornets. It's safe to say that was not what was expected of them.
On Friday night, the Celtics beat up on the Detroit Pistons in the home opener. They followed their first win up with another quality performance against the Washington Wizards in a 94-86 win in D.C. on New Year's Day. That's more like it, isn't it?
Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo were the driving forces in the victory. Here's what the game came down to.
THE BIG TICKET IS BACK (FOR NOW)
If you didn't know if was 2012 (first of all, you'd be a shut in), you could have sworn that it was 2003 all over again based on Kevin Garnett's performance in the win over Washington. Garnett finished with a game-high 24 points and collected nine rebounds in 28 minutes for Boston. Watching KG on Sunday was probably the most similar performance we'll see to his 2003-04 season when he won the MVP award. No, KG doesn't have as much pop and ferocity as he did then, but to say that he is washed up (as man are suggesting) is hogwash. That's right, hogwosh. Garnett won't lead the team in scoring most nights, but when they need him to, he can pull out performances like this. He's a future HOFer, remember?
RAJON RONDO's OFFENSE RETURNS
After a brief two-game hiatus, Rajon Rondo's offense has returned. Rondo finished with his first triple-double of the season (knowing Rondo, it probably won't be his last), totaling 18 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds. That's quite the game, isn't it? With Paul Pierce -- the team's leading scorer since practically forever (or the early 2000s) -- working his way back into the lineup, Doc Rivers is in need of points anywhere he can get it. Right now, Rondo's offense is helping -- a lot. If he keeps this up, the Celtics will put themselves in a much better position to contend for that 18th championship.
CELTICS LACKING KILLER INSTINCT
Several times during Sunday's game, the Celtics had a chance to put the Wizards away for good. As it turns out, they couldn't do so until the final five minutes of the game. Boston led by 19 at one point in the second half, but the C's went soft and allowed Washington to get right back into the game. Being only December (and five games into the season), it's unfair to expect the Celtics to have perfect defensive games. In fact, with the roster in its current shape, it may be unfair to expect consistency on defense (or offense for that matter) at all this season. Still, it is concerning. This is a team that the Celtics should be able to put away easily. Instead, they eased up and let Washington come back. That's a no-no.
BOTTOM LINE: It's unfair to a criticize to any team for winning, so only so much can be said about Boston's inability to put the Wizards away sooner. Overall, it was a solid performance that gave the Celtics their second win in a row. When push comes to shove, these are games that the C's should be winning. If they keep this up, they'll be in decent shape.
NEXT UP: Boston won't have to wait long for its next rematch with Washington. Less than 24 hours, in fact. The Celtics and Wizards will play again in the second game of a back-to-back at 7 p.m. EDT on Monday night at TD Garden. Boston hasn't done very well in the final game of back-to-backs, so the Celtics may not have as much success on Monday.
Kevin Garnett looked like his old self, amassing 24 points and nine rebounds to lead the Boston Celtics to a 94-86 blowout victory over the Washington Wizards to claim the team's second victory of the season on New Year's Day.
Garnett scored 12 points in the first half and finished the game 0-of-0 from the floor for Boston, which shot 50 percent on 37-of-74 shooting. Rajon Rondo also put forth a tremendous game, recording a triple-double with 18 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds. Ray Allen scored 13 points, Paul Pierce had nine points and Jermaine O'Neal added eight points for the C's.
John Wall led the Wizards with 19 points, eight assist and seven rebounds. JaVale McGee had 16 points and 14 boards, Nick Young scored 18 points and Andray Blatche added 10 points for Washington which shot 41.0 percent (32-for-78).
Boston jumped ahead by ten points, 21-11, eight minutes into the game and never looked back. The Celtics led 51-34 at halftime but were outscored, 52-43, by Washington in the final half. The C's and Wizards meet again on Monday in Boston.
Kevin Garnett put together a solid half, scoring 12 points and grabbing six rebounds as the Boston Celtics have taken a commanding 51-34 lead over the winless Washington Wizards at halftime at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C.
Boston controlled the pace of the game right from the get go, jumping out to a 21-11 lead with 4:11 to go in the first quarter. The Celtics led 28-17 after the first quarter and outscored Washington again, 23-17, to take a 17-point lead.
Ray Allen scored eight points in the half on 3-of-5 shooting for Boston, which shot 55.6 percent from the field (20-for-36). Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Jermaine O'Neal all had six points apiece and Brandon Bass scored four off the bench.
John Wall leads the Wizards with 11 points and five rebounds through one half. JaVale McGee totaled nine points and six rebounds and Rashard Lewis scored six points for Washington, which shot a miserable 28.2 percent (11-for-39).
Event: Boston Celtics (1-3) vs. Washington Wizards (0-3) - NBA Regular Season, Game 5.
Date/Time: Sunday, January 1, 2012 - 6:00 p.m. EDT.
Location: Verizon Center (Capacity: 20,278), Washington D.C.
Broadcast Info: Sunday's game between the Celtics and Wizards will be televised regionally on Comcast SportsNet New England, with Mike Gorman, Tommy Heinsohn and Greg Dickerson or Kyle Draper bringing you the action courtside. The game cam also be heard on the WEEI Sports Radio Network, with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell calling the game.
Odds: Boston is a 7-point favorite over Washington on New Year's Day.
Celtics Roster 2011-12: Ray Allen, Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley, Marquis Daniels,Keyon Dooling, Kevin Garnett, JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, Jermaine O'Neal, Sasha Pavlovic, Mickael Pietrus, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Greg Stiemsma,Chris Wilcox. Head Coach: Doc Rivers.
Wizards Roster 2011-12: Andray Blatche, Trevor Booker, Jordan Crawford, Maurice Evans, Rashard Lewis, Shelvin Mack, Roger Mason Jr., JaVale McGee, Hamady Ndiaye, Kevin Seraphin, Chris Singleton, Ronny Turiaf, Jan Vesely, John Wall, Nick Young. Head Coach: Flip Saunders.
Celtics And Wizards In 2011: Boston and Washington played each other four times last season, with each team winning twice. The C's opened the season series with a 114-83 win in November before losing 85-83 in the next game. The C's beat the Wizards, 104-88, on April 8 but lost in the season series finale, 95-94, in OT on April 11.
Last Time Out: Boston defeated the Detroit Pistons, 96-85, in its home opener on Friday night. The win was the first of the lockout-shortened 66-game season for the Celtics, who made 35-of-67 field goals to shoot 52.2 percent. Jermaine O'Neal had a season-high 19 points and seven rebounds and both Ray Allen and Brandon Bass had 17 points. Paul Pierce played for the first time this season, finishing with 12 points, five assists and four rebounds in 23 minutes.
Washington was blown out by the Milwaukee Bucks, 102-81, in its last game on Friday. Jordan Crawford scored 23 points off the bench to lead the Wizards, who shot 35.3 percent in the loss. Rashard Lewis scored 14 points, JaVale McGee had 10 points and nine rebounds and John Wall totaled six points, seven assists and three blocks in defeat.
Statistical Leaders: Ray Allen is the leading scorer for the Celtics. averaging 20.0 points. Kevin Garnett averages a team-high 5.8 rebounds, Rajon Rondo averages 9.0 assists and 1.5 steals and Greg Stiemsma averages 3.5 blocks.
Nick Young is the Wizards' leading scorer, averaging 13.3 points. JaVale McGee averages a team-best 9.0 rebounds per game while John Wall leads the team in assists (6.0 APG), steals (2.3 SPG) and blocks (1.7 BPG).
Storyline: The pressure has been relieved, at least for the moment. Boston's win over Detroit in the home opener brought the worst start in the current Big Three era to a close, giving the C's their first win of the season. In victory, the Celtics looked like a completely different team -- consistent play on offense, less turnovers and good defense. Granted, they were playing the lowly Pistons, but a win is a win and you have to start somewhere.
On the other sideline, Flip Saunders and his Wizards haven't been able to experience the relief of winning a game this season, having dropped all three games they have played. Ever since the glory days with Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison ended, Washington has been stuck in rebuilding mode. While there is talent on the Wizards roster -- John Wall and JaVale McGee in particular -- they still haven't reached the point where they are consistently competitive.
Players To Watch: Paul Pierce will see action for the second time this season after a bruised right heel kept him out of training camp and the Celtics' first three games. During his absence, Sasha Pavlovic less-than-admirably filled in. Pierce impacted the C's with his return on Friday, even in limited minutes. Also keep an eye on Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, who are always key to the team's success. Brandon Bass has proven to be a strong scoring option and rebounder off the bench, and Keyon Dooling has provided sparks. For Washington, the ever-talented guard John Wall is always capable of taking over a game. JaVale McGee is a threat in the post and Rashard Lewis and Jordan Crawford can have their moments.
Prediction: This is the first game of a back-to-back against Washington, and the Celtics usually don't struggle in these games -- especially against a weak opponent like the Wizards. Monday's game will be a different story. For now, expect the Celtics to have their way. Final Score: Celtics 97, WIzards 86.
Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics (1-3) face the Washington Wizards (0-3) on New Year's Day at 6:00 p.m. EDT at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Boston and Washington met four times in 2011, with each team winning twice.
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