The Boston Celtics avoided a two game skid in the return of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the basketball floor. Although Boston scored 107 points tonight, their work on defense and the glass shouldn’t go unnoticed tonight.
The Celtics outrebounded the Wizards 38-36, but the fact that they held the Wizards to only 36 rebounds is phenomenal in itself. The Wizards are the 9th best rebounding team in the NBA. They normally get 43.4 rebounds per game. They also were held to only 36 points in the paint.
Boston did a great job guarding John Wall around screens and playing him physically thoughout the entire game. Whenever Wall would get a screen, there was a wall of Celtics defenders ready to meet him and prevent penetration. The big played Wall soft and allowed the perimeter defender to do most of the work and force Wall in the direction that the Celtics wanted him to go.
Wall was one of three players to average over 23 points, seven assists, and five rebounds in the month of March. The other two were Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. For the Celtics to have guarded him so well should instill comfort in the hearts of Celtics fans.
Brandon Bass had his best performance as a Celtic this season. He scored 20 points on 9-12 shooting and had six rebounds to go with that as well. The Wizards allowed Bass to get to the rim for five of his nine makes. He isn’t known as a catch and drive guy, but Bass does that exceptionally well and he showed that tonight. This is the type of all-around performance that the Celtics need from him offensively night in and night out. He obviously isn’t going to go 9-12 every night, but he still needs to try to get some of these same shots rather than staying in the middle area for most of his offense.
Overall, the Celtics played a great game tonight and they should pat themselves on the back. The Wizards record doesn’t indicate it, but they’re a very good team. They’ve got a very good point guard in Wall–no doubt top 10–and they contained him very easily. Now, they’ll move onto the next game and try to continue to keep this good taste in their mouths until the postseason arrives.