(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
By Patrick Whalen
After winning six games in a row the Celtics headed down to the nations captial to take on the Wizards. Going into the game the Celtics were again short handed, Kyrie Irving was back in the linup after missing one game and Aron Baynes returned from his ankle injury but Jaylen Brown was then out for the game joining Al Horford, Gordon Hayward, and Guerschon Yabusele. This game ended up being just how most Celtic fans thought it would be, a hard fought and close game where the winner would have to grind out a win.
The Celtic offense got off to a slow start during the first half which lead to them trailing 55-46 at the half. The Celtics then exploded for 38 points in the third to take a 7 point lead into the fourth. The Celtics offense recieved a big boost from Kyrie Irving returning to the line up as he went for 38 points and 7 assists inculding two big threes in overtime to seal the Celtics seventh straight win.
Marcus Morris Sr also continued his excelant play of later stepping up once again when the Celtics needed him to as he had 27 points on 11-20 shooting and 9 rebounds including a buzzer beater to end the third quarter.
Marcus Smart went for 18 points including a three pointer which broke a tie with Danny Ainge for 9th on the all time Celtics three pointer list. Tatum and Rozier were also in double digits. As a team the Celtics had a struggling shooting night as they shot 45% from the floor and 29% from three (Basketball-Reference.com).
The Wizards have also been facing injuries this season and it showed greatly in their starting lineup as they went with Wall, Beal, Jeff Green, Tomas Satoransky, and Thomas Bryant. Wall went for 34, Beal 22 and Green had 22 as well. What killed the Wizards was a lack of bench depth and presence. Kelly Oubre had 20 points and Markieff Morris, Marcus’ twin, had 11 but other than those two the Wizards really didn’t play many others off the bench as Austin Rivers played 18 minutes and Sam Dekker played 4 minutes. The Wizards as a team had an average night shooting 505 from the field but just 36% from downtown (Basketball-Refernce.com).
Late in regulation it looked like the Celtics were going to be able to pull out the win in regulation but Bradley Beal came flying in for a rebound off a John Wall missed free throw and made a lay up to tie the game at 113. Once it got to overtime it became Kryie vs John Wall going back and forth trading baskets until Kyrie burried back to back threes including one with Wall all over him.
Being able to over come a poor shooting night and still be able to grind out a win was a great sign for the Celtics. These kind of games were their signature last year, being able to grind out wins lacking their stars and shooting. This win now makes it 7 in a row for the Celtics. Next they get the lack luster Hawks at home. Most likely Gordon Hayward will be back after missing two games with an illness and Jaylen Brown after missing tonights game due to some back soreness. With the win tonight it now pushes the Celtics to just 4.5 games back of the Raptors for first place in the eastern confernce. With the Celtics rolling like this lets hope they can keep it up at home against Atlanta and make it 8 in row.