As the Celtics pore over tape from the regular season and the Wizards-Hawks series, this game stands out.
We reviewed the game at NBA.com and the game log, sitting comfortably in our regular weekly session with Red Auerbach, and thought we saw a number of pieces of actionable intelligence.
Yes, it was a home win, so, eh, to be expected — but several interesting features in the game.
On the other hand, the Celtics had no Amir Johnson, Jaylen Brown, and of course no Avery Bradley.
Jordan Mickey started for Amir — not Green‘s offensive presence, but a little more fleet of footedness on the defensive and defensive rebounding end.
(Boston actually had a slight rebounding advantage, 45-44, helping us to overcome a 14-7 gap in turnovers.)
Bradley Beal went off but the Celtics not only “contained” John Wall, they (Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier with a lot of pick and roll help from Al Horford) stopped him. Wall hit 4 of 21 shots, scoring 9 points.
Rozier also had some big 4th quarter buckets to go with the usual IT parade to the 3 point and free throw line.
Washington didn’t like coming out to cover Al Horford, Jae Crowder, or Kelly Olynyk. The three shot a combined 8 of 15 from 3… mostly those nice, feet-set, relatively uncontested 3s.
The 6th man… and the 7th and 8th
Boston’s bench dominated. Huge plus/minus for Olynyk, Rozier, Jerebko, and Green (the latter in fewer minutes).
The Wizards had no answer for IT in the 4th quarter. Almost no one in the NBA does. But thanks in part to the aforementioned defensive effort by Rozier, Smart, and Horford, Wall seemed totally gassed.
Washington had not gelled yet, they came in 19-18, in a funk. It was January, not last week. Still….
… to paraphrase and invert Santayana, “he who can learn from past successes is capable of repeating them.”