Boston was thrilled to host their first ever Christmas day game at TD Garden – until John Wall and Bradley Beal came in and stole the show. Washington handled the Celtics on their home floor and got a huge win over the team with the best record in the East. The Wizards came out firing, taking an early lead and maintaining it for most of the night. It wasn’t a great shooting night for Wall and Beal, as they combined to go 0-9 from outside, and the team as a whole shot a modest 46% from the field. But the real difference in this one was the Wizards’ defense and success in containing and limiting Boston’s wings. Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum notched 20 a piece, but this wasn’t enough with guys like Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris being taken out of their rhythm and not hitting shots. It also didn’t help that Aron Baynes went scoreless and the Celtics’ starting frontcourt grabbed just 10 combined rebounds. Washington forced the Celtics into 16 turnovers, which ultimately led to the final outcome, as Boston came a couple possessions short of completing a comeback.
Boston has now lost 3 of their last 4 games, and is barely clinging to the top spot in the conference, now just 1.5 games ahead of the Raptors and Cavs. On the other hand, the Wizards got their biggest win of the season and will look to use this to help them gain momentum going forward. Washington has been a bit of an enigma, holding a 10-6 record over teams above .500, but only a 9-9 record against teams below .500. They’ve shown they can compete with and beat the best teams in the league, and they believe that they are the best matchup for Cleveland in the playoffs. If they can put everything together and stay consistent when facing lesser competition, they’ll be right up there with Cleveland and Boston in the race for the East.
By: Will Eudy
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