The Celtics came up with a huge victory over the Wizards in a battle for the second seed in the eastern conference.
Monday night was one of the most important games of the regular season for the Boston Celtics, as they hosted the Washington Wizards in a fight for the second seed in the east. Only 1.5 games separated these two teams in the standings, so a win for either team would go a long way towards improving their playoff seeding.
The Celtics had two of their worst games of the season on the road in Washington, losing by a combined 40 points in those two contests. Coming into their final match up of the season with the Wizards, Boston needed to make a statement to who would be the primary challenger to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Boston played a great all around game, handling the Wizards in the second half and building a 20 point lead at one point. The Celtics crushed Washington on the glass, winning the rebound battle 54-39. They also pulled in a season high 20 offensive rebounds, which is practically unheard of for this Celtics team.
Both teams struggled making shots, each shooting 43% from the floor, but the Celtics won this game thanks to their defensive effort and rebounding. Avery Bradley and company did a great job keeping John Wall and Bradley Beal in check. Beal and Wall usually torch the Celtics, but shot a combined 10-25, with a plus/minus of -40 between the two of them.
What we saw in this game was what comes with the Wizards’ lack of depth. Boston was on the second night of a back to back, and yet it was the Wizards that looked exhausted. Washington has had a rough schedule recently, but it is telling that their best players are starting to feel the fatigue setting in.
Wall is fifth in NBA in minutes per game, with Beal at 16th. The Celtics highest player on that list is Isaiah Thomas at 27th. Boston has depth, and the Wizards do not. Washington does not have the choice but to play their starters all the time. So now, their best players are running out of gas trying to gain a high seed.
The Celtics can feel good about their situation closing out the regular season. They have a 2.5 game lead on the Wizards for second seed, and are only two games back on the Cavaliers for the top seed in the eastern conference. With the Wizards losing steam on the league’s toughest remaining schedule, and the Cavaliers continuing to rest their stars, the door is wide open for the Celtics to grab the top seed in the conference.