03/28 21:46 CDT Short-handed Wizards rout Celtics 130-111
Short-handed Wizards rout Celtics 130-111
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) --- Just when it appeared Washington fans would have little to
worry about besides draft position over the next couple weeks, the short-handed
Wizards delivered a dominating victory over one of the NBA's best teams.
Kristaps Porzingis had 32 points and 13 rebounds, and the Wizards boosted their
flickering postseason hopes with a 130-111 victory over the Boston Celtics on
The Wizards won despite the absence of Bradley Beal (left knee soreness) and
Kyle Kuzma (right ankle sprain) and pulled within 2 1/2 games of Chicago for
the final play-in spot in the Eastern Conference. Washington has six games
remaining in the regular season.
"Probably the best pace, for 36-to-40 minutes, that we've seen all year,"
Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. "After makes, misses, were able to
accumulate quite a few fast break points. Not all those were just off of
misses. So being able to play with pace and kind of get stuff early in the
clock I thought helped us."
Washington finished with a 19-11 edge in fast break points.
The Celtics had their three-game winning streak snapped and fell to 2 1/2 games
behind Milwaukee for the top record in the NBA. Jayson Tatum led Boston with 28
points, but the Celtics trailed 64-51 at halftime, and then their deficit rose
to as many as 23 points in the third quarter.
Milwaukee plays at Indiana on Wednesday before a showdown Thursday against the
Deni Avdija matched a career high with 25 points and added 10 rebounds for
Washington. Monte Morris scored 19 points.
"Trying to make the right decisions, trying to be aggressive," Avdija said. "I
guess I'm just not thinking, I'm just playing my game, making plays for others."
Jaylen Brown contributed 18 points for the Celtics.
The Wizards went 1 of 8 from 3-point range in the first quarter but still led
29-23. Their shooting picked up in a big way --- they finished 13 of 37 from
beyond the arc --- and Boston never mounted much of a challenge in the second
The Celtics substituted liberally in the fourth quarter and actually cut the
lead down to 13, but then Avdija had a steal and dunk and the Wizards held on
without any trouble.
AT THE BOTTOM
Unseld had a response to those who suggest the Wizards would be better off
losing these games. Washington still has an uphill climb to make the play-in
"That might be something that on paper makes sense, but you can't go in the
locker room and tell your team that we're about winning, we're about being
competitive, and we're just going to lay down and give games away," he said. "I
think that's the wrong message."
After Tuesday's win, the Wizards (34-42) are a game ahead of Indiana (33-43), 1
1/2 ahead of Portland (32-43) and two up on Orlando (32-44). Falling behind
those teams could certainly boost the lottery odds.
"We understand the situation and the fact that that is a potential outcome.
It's not a guarantee," Unseld said. "If we don't get some guys back, it is what
it is, but we still want to make sure whoever's available is going to play the
right way, compete at a certain standard."
Celtics: Tatum played 31:52, and no other Boston player reached that total.
Tatum, Marcus Smart and Al Horford did not play at all in the fourth quarter.
Brown and Derrick White --- the team's other two starters --- played 2:39 each
in that period. ... Smart scored 14 points and Malcolm Brogdon added 13.
Wizards: Washington was actually down three starters. In addition to Beal and
Kuzma, Daniel Gafford missed the game with left foot soreness.
Celtics: At Milwaukee on Thursday night.
Wizards: Host Orlando on Friday night.
Follow Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister
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