The script this season for these transitioning Boston Celtics has been play hard, stick close and lose. They did one of those things during Wednesday's unsightly 118-92 loss to the Washington Wizards.
THE NITTY GRITTY
Marcin Gortat paced six Wizards players in double figures by scoring 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting as Washington stamped its postseason passport for the first time since 2008. John Wall added 13 points, 10 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals, while finishing a team-best plus-30 in 28 minutes. Jared Sullinger scored a game-high 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting with seven rebounds and six assists and he was Boston's lone bright spot. Kelly Olynyk finished with 14 points and four rebounds and was improbably a plus-8 in plus/minus, seemingly impossible in a game in which Boston lost by 26.
It took less than four minutes for the Wizards to open a double-digit lead. Feeding Gortat early and often, the Wizards generated 14 points in the paint while opening a 19-4 advantage just five minutes in. Gortat did the bulk of the damage with eight points and Washington shot 75 percent (9-of-12) in that span. On the other side, Boston missed five of its first seven shots, turned the ball over twice and spent the rest of the first half just trying to stick around. The Wizards blew the game open in the third quarter while outscoring Boston 32-12.
Washington shot a blistering 62.5 percent (45-of-72) from the field. ... The Wizards connected on 52.6 percent (10-of-19) of attempts beyond the 3-point arc, while Boston finished at 12.5 percent (3-of-24) from distance. ... All 11 players that dressed for Boston played. Avery Bradley sat out with a strained right Achilles tendon. ... Washington turned the ball over 21 times leading to 20 points and it didn't matter. The Wizards never trailed and led by as many as 33.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (23-52) have dropped six straight and 11 of their last 12. Boston moves back into a tie with Utah for the fourth worst record in basketball with seven games remaining for both teams. The Celtics get a day to rest before launching into a back-to-back that starts with a visit from the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night at TD Garden, then concludes with a trip to meet the Detroit Pistons on Saturday.