Dave Johnson: Wizards Fail To Finish

Dave Johnson: Wizards Fail To Finish
March 8, 2010, 4:20 am
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Sunday, March 7, 2010, 11:13PM

Wizards vs. Celtics Game Highlights

By Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.comBoston---Against Boston the Washington Wizards were ready for the challenge but not the pressure when it counted the most. With an anxious crowd prodding them on, the Celtics closed the game on a 20-4 run to secure an 86-83 win and wipe out a dominating perfromance by the Wizards.With 6:10 to go in the game, Andray Blatche hit a baseline jumper over both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to give the Wizards their largest lead of the night at 79-66. It proved to be a false dawn. The Celtics then called a time out, and the game changed beyond recognition.We choked, said Wizards head coach Flip Saunders. We got young guys. They dont know what it is like to be in this situation. We started talking trash to Garnett and everyone else. We got Garnett and those guys juiced up.The once dominant Wizards, who had led since the first quarter, suddenly struggled to get in their offense and get a quality shot off. The pressure of the Celtics Rajon Rondo on Randy Foye had an impact and then on offense Ray Allen took over.Allen scored eight of his game-high 25-points in the Celtics final run. With 1:37 left, the Celtics were able get the rebound on a Rondo missed free throw and Allen nailed a three-pointer from the wing to give the Celtics an 82-81 edge. It was the Celtics first lead since 11-10 in the first quarter.Allen also was able to come off a screen and hit a three pointer with 17.1 seconds left to give the Celtics the lead for good at 85-83. Pierce added 17 points for the Celtics who won despite shooting only 41-percent from the field.The loss spoiled an amazing effort by the Wizards front court. Al Thornton, who only took four shots in Fridays loss to the Bucks, was in attack mode from the start of the game and led the Wizards with 24-points and 11-rebounds,Blatche added 23-points and nine rebounds and was the Wizards driving force in the opening six minutes of the fourth when he scored nine of his point, but was then shut down. Down 85-83, Blatche did create a good look with a 14-foot jumper from the side of the lane that would have tied it but went off the rim with about seven seconds left.Dray was woofing to Kevin Garnett and you cant do those things, Saunders said of the trash-talk he heard late in the game. That is a learning process. You dont take a guy who has been defensive player of the year three times and then get that guy (Garnett) juiced up to play against you.Blatche was certainly motivated to play against Garnett. Despite early foul trouble, two in the first quarter, Blatche was part of probably the Wizards best low-post defensive effort of the season. Most of the night Blatche was matched-up on Garnett and held him without a field goal as he finished 0-7 from the floor.In the middle JaVale McGee put together a highlight reel of blocked shots. A McGee denial of a Garnett drive to the basket elicited gasps from the Boston crowd, In addition to his five blocked shots; McGee used his length to alter several more shots ranging from layup attempts by Rondo to jumper attempts by Allen.The disappointing thing is that we out played them for 42-minutes, Saunders noted. The last six minutes we didnt have the know-how to close it outWe were so discombobulated we had guys going to the wrong side of the floor coming out of timeouts, Saunders added. Boston came at us and our guys didnt have the answer and we panicked. We didnt have a settling factor on the floor to settle us down.