Celtics down Wizards in National Basketball Association grudge match

Cornelia Mascio
Marzo 21, 2017

But we're playing a very good team (tonight).

"Those guys don't like us, we don't like them, that's what it is", Thomas said. "With that team, it's always going to be a physical game, always going to be trashing talking and things like that". This is a crucial game because the Wizards are 3.5 games back of the first seed and only two games behind the second seed.

Throwing everything he could at this Washington team, Brad Stevens went deep into his rotations early, subbing in Tyler Zeller, Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk and Jaylen Brown all in the opening quarter.

Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) drives to the basket against Washington Wizards center Ian Mahinmi (28) during the first quarter in Boston, Monday, March 20, 2017. Led by Horford's 16 points, 9 rebounds, the three big men finished with a combined 23 rebounds and four blocks.

ABOUT THE WIZARDS (42-27): John Wall was one of many who struggled to find the mark in Saturday's loss, making 5-of-16 from the field in his second straight hard offensive effort since suffering a foot injury Wednesday against Dallas. I think that there's no question about that. "Nobody did anything dirty". According to the performance between these two sides, both of them are playing well in this National Basketball Association season.

Behind Thomas' 12 third-quarter points, Boston pushed an 11-point halftime lead to 92-75 after three.

The bad feelings built up between the teams this season resurfaced briefly midway into the second quarter. At the start of December, they were an ugly 6-12 and looked like a team wasn't buying in yet to new head coach Scott Brooks. Crowder pointed his finger in Wall's face, and Wall slapped at him. But Boston stayed in front throughout the third quarter with the chippy play only allowing Washington to slightly chip away at the lead. The forward/center scored a season-high 27 points against the Philadelphia 76ers in a losing effort. Boston opened a stretch of six straight at home and plays only three road games the rest of the regular season.

Will the Wizards once again struggle to cover against the Celtics tonight when they visit Boston at 7:30PM ET?

"Avery, obviously, is a leader in that (playing great defense)", Stevens said. "We knew it", said Thomas. "I was making sure I was in that training room and getting right".

The Wizards will have a chance to get back in the win column on Wednesday when they host the Hawks.

Although this was the fourth and final regular season meeting between these two, Bradley had missed the two previous games due to an Achilles injury. Boston has beaten IN twice this season, with Thomas leading the team IN scoring both times.

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