Piercing loss for Wizards

Piercing loss for Wizards
January 22, 2012, 8:59 pm
Share This Post

A sprained right wrist forced the Celtics Rajon Rondo to miss a second straight game. A jammed left ankle ended Ray Allens time against the Wizards in the first half. It didnt matter. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were still around to finish and lead the Celtics to a 100-94 win.

With Rondo out and Allen limited to 10 minutes, Pierce was dominant. Pierce scored a season-high 34 points and totaled a season-high eight assists to go with 10 rebounds. In the fourth quarter, Pierce had 14 of his points, and for the game was a study in efficiency, converting 10 of 15 shot attempts from the field.

Garnett added 17 points, and all five of his fourth-quarter points came in the games final two minutes. To make up for the loss of Allen, Mickael Pietrus added 14 points, while Brandon Bass contributed 13 points. It was a welcome result for a Celtics team that had dropped five of six games and had not scored 100 points since a win over the Wizards on Jan. 2.

John Wall continued his recent surge and led the Wizards with 27 points and 10 assists. Nick Young had 19 points, and Jordan Crawford finished with 12 points, continuing the trend of guards providing the points for the Wizards. For the game, the Wizards shot 48 percent from the field, but had some fatal quick-shot possessions late in the fourth quarter.

We were trying to run and get out as much as we could, Wizards coach Flip Saunders said. We were pretty efficient overall offensively, except for some costly turnovers. We made some big plays to get back in the game, but we were making those plays by moving the ball.

To make it close, the Wizards had to rally from a 15-point, third-quarter deficit. There were stretches in the game when the Wizards seemed to lack intensity on defense, and the start of the second half was one of those stretches. Down 61-46, the Wizards used a 29-14 run to tie the game at 75.

The Wizards grabbed their first lead since the second quarter when Nick broke upcourt and received a prefect outlet pass from Andray Blatche for a fast-break dunk to make it 83-82.

Young dunked on Pietrus and was fouled but also issued a technical for taunting Pietrus after the bucket. Pierce made the technical and Young made his free throw, but it was the last Wizards lead of the game at 84-83 with 5:56 remaining.

Theyre so much better, and you can just see it, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said of the Wizards. I know John Wall a little bit just from AAU, and thats the first thing I told him. I said, You guys are doing it. Its good to see the young guys accept coaching and do the right things.