Are you superstitious?
The Celtics were riding an eight game winning streak when they strolled down to my ‘hood of Washington DC- and I was excited to see them at the Verizon Center. However the last time I went to a Celtics-Wizards match-up it didn’t end the way I expected. Back in January 2008 I saw the Wizards come back in the 4th quarter and beat the Celtics. I wrote it off as a tough road loss until I saw the Wizards do the same thing at the Garden two days later.
So I knew that the Wizards would play the Celtics tough and it was certainly the case last night. The big green machine ended the 1st half strong with a 60-46 lead going into halftime after playing a second half where they held the Wizards without a single rebound.
But just like the Patriots in the 2nd half of a football game, the Wizards came out of halftime ready to play and quickly tied the game with 5 minutes left in the third quarter. Now we had a basketball game.
However unlike the Patriots as soon as the game was tied the Celtics turned it on and jumped back on top 83-74 at the end of the third quarter. An impressive feat to those I was watching the game with.
It all came down to the 4th quarter when with 1:56 left on the clock the Wizards once again caught up and tied it all up 96-96. Rajon Rondo drove it to the hole for his 19th point of the game (he would end the game with a team high 21.) Antawn Jamison responded with a layup of his own. Now tied 98 a piece, Rondo once again made a statement with a drive and a dunk. Celtics up 100-98 with 1:09 left to play.
As the seconds ticked away it was still anybody’s game and it wasn’t until Gilbert Arenas fouled Paul Pierce that the Celtics edged out the Wizards.
After Pierce goes one for two at the line, the Wizards had the ball and I thought the the Wizards would try for a three-pointer to tie up the game. Instead with less than 20 seconds left Arenas held on to the ball and drove it in for two points. Celtics still up 101-100.
Along with missing a pair of key free throws I can imagine Arenas will take a lot of the heat for the loss.
Now that the Celtics had possession I knew that it would simply become a game of “hack-a-Celtic” and as long as they could hold up on the free-throw line they would be fine. After the Arenas layup the Jamison fouls Ray Allen who then nails in the coffin with a pair of free throws. The Wizards now need a three point shot to tie it back up with 14.6 seconds left.
By luck they did have those chances but both Arenas and Randy Foye missed terrible attempts to take the game into overtime. An Andray Blatche foul on Kendrick Perkins allowed the Celtics to finally put the game out of reach.
It was a nail biter at the end but all-in-all a great game where the Celtics simply had control most of the game. Here are three things I saw at the game and three things you probably didn’t see on TNT or CSN.
Rajon Rondo Is The Only Celtic Who Can Drive It To The Hole
I expected a lot of perimeter shooting and 18 foot jumpers and that’s what I got. However Rondo looks great and willing to get into the paint for some tough points. His value to the team can’t be overrated as he provides that other dimension to the team.
Rasheed Wallace Still Is A Disappointment In The Offensive Game
Besides his four free throws, he put up a big donut in the shooting game. He did however come through with four defensive rebounds.
The Celtics Are A Great Passing Force
When it comes to teamwork the Celtics impress. You’ll hear about the sloppy play the Wizards put up and all you need to see is how the two teams pass the ball to see it. The Celtics had crisp passes while the Wizards pretty much didn’t pass at all.
Paul Pierce Was Booed For Free Chicken Sandwiches
There was more on the line when Paul Pierce nailed two free throws in the 4th quarter. As part of a Chik-Fil-A in-game promotion, if Pierce missed two consecutive free throws, the entire Arena would get free chicken sandwiches, thus the home crowd booed extra loud when he was on the line.
The Verizon Center Wants Pierce and Sheldon Williams To Make Out
The Kiss Cam isn’t anything new at sporting events, but at the Verizon Center they like to end the third quarter attraction with a shot of two players of the opposing team. As a media time-out ended they camera focused on Pierce and Williams. Pierce wasn’t watching but Williams looked uncomfortable.
Wolf Blitzer Loves To Tweet
There isn’t a lack of famous faces and big names in DC- and last night Wolf Blitzer was seen on his blackberry, tweeting the game for the NBA. I heard it wasn’t shown on CSN but did the TNT viewers catch some of his Tweets?