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Wizards get flattened in Boston

By Michael Lee

Well, if you're going to give me the lane...We ain't giving you guys anything. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Gilbert Arenas's right foot was in a bucket of ice, his left knee covered with a bag of ice, and he was dumbfounded by what he had just witnessed. The Wizards had just suffered their worst beat down of the season and Arenas looked up and asked, "So that's what a championship-caliber team looks like, huh? Wow!"

Wow, indeed. Just as they were in the season-opener in Orlando, the Wizards were completely overmatched on Wednesday against the Boston Celtics. The Celtics certainly had the edge in experience (all but one of their starters has been in the league since 1998) and in talent (all five starters have made at least one all-star appearance), but they also brought something else to TD Garden that Washington didn't: a desire to win the game.

It helped that the Celtics hadn't played since Sunday, giving their roster of aging future Hall of Famers the chance to rest and recuperate, and that the Wizards were on the second end of back-to-back games. But still. "We made them look better than they were, the way we played," Coach Flip Saunders said. "I just thought they played with a lot more with a lot more passion. They did what veteran team is supposed to do...get physical from the beginning."

Shaquille O'Neal looked like weighed as much as JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche combined, as he just pushed his smaller opponents aside and dunked with ease. On one play, O'Neal rebounded a Paul Pierce miss, and with Blatche, McGee and Al Thornton hopping around and flailing at the ball, the 350-pound behemoth cleared up space then rose up for a two-handed dunk. The Celtics dominated the Wizards with points in the paint, outscoring them, 56-28.

After the game, Arenas marveled at the size of the Celtics, who were still without centers Jermaine O'Neal and Kendrick Perkins, who were both out with knee injuries. They were a sharp contrast to the smallish Toronto Raptors, whose starting 7-foot center likes to shoot threes and grabbed just two rebounds the night before. "We beat a team and we're all jumping up like, 'Yay!' " Arenas said. "And then the big fish came and whooped us up."

So that's what a championship-caliber team looks like? (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

The Wizards were competitive for about 17 minutes, as Blatche made a short hook shot that brought them within three points in the second quarter. But the Celtics closed out the half on a 19-6 run and essentially put them to bed for the night.

The official act of surrender came early in the third quarter when Garnett beat Blatche for position inside and caught a pass from Rajon Rondo. Unable to contest the shot, Blatche reached for Garnett's shorts and pulled down. It was reminiscent of boxing match, when a guy avoids a beating by leaning on his opponent and holding him. And, an example of how poorly things worked for the Wizards, Garnett's shorts barely budged.

Paul Pierce said the day before that the Celtics wouldn't take the Wizards for granted because they had so many young players hoping to establish themselves. Garnett said, "This is a team that gave us problems last year and we haven't forgotten that. I haven't. Paul and I got here and could hear [former Celtic and current Wizards assistant coach] Sam Cassell about how young they were and how they were going to come at us. We made note of it. We talked about it, you know, before the game and coming out here, taking care of business. I thought we stayed with that for 48 minutes."

After destroying the gimpy-kneed Garnett in two games last season, Blatche noticed a difference in Garnett, who had 18 points on 9 of 11 shooting and seven rebounds in 23 minutes. "He's got more legs and his jump shot is definitely improved from last year. Look like he did a lot of work this summer," Blatche said.

Blatche has been dealing with his own knee troubles of late, but said that his knee actually felt fine on the second end of back-to-back games. "I couldn't help my team better, but the main thing about this league, we've got another game in two days," said Blatche, who was held to just 10 points and three rebounds after getting 22 points the night before against the Raptors. Blatche added that the Wizards team that showed up against Boston was not the one that played Toronto the night before. "[Tuesday] was a team that played together, trusted one another, followed directions, worked hard. [Wednesday] was a team that because we got a win yesterday, was thinking it was going to be as easy as [Tuesday]]."

It was far more frustrating for the Wizards, and likely would've been worse if not for Nick Young scoring 20 points off the bench for the second straight game. Kirk Hinrich tried to inject some life in his teammates, as he scored all 10 of his points in the third quarter to bring the Wizards within 15 on a reverse layup with 2:28 left in the period. But the Wizards were down 27 points about six minutes later, forcing Saunders to clear his bench.

"There were stretches where it seemed like we weren't into it," Hinrich said. "We were just a little bit flat."

And the Celtics made them flatter.

By Michael Lee  | November 18, 2010; 1:40 AM ET
Categories:  Andray Blatche, Flip Saunders, Gilbert Arenas, Kirk Hinrich  
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Next: Another embarrassing loss to an elite team


On one play, O'Neal rebounded a Paul Pierce miss, and with Blatche, McGee and Al Thornton flailing at the ball, the 350-pound behemoth cleared up space then rose up for a two-handed dunk.

Where's Yi when you really need him?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | November 18, 2010 2:03 AM | Report abuse

The Spurs released Gee. I'd kinda like to bring him back, his energy and athleticism would be a good fit for this team. I'm just not sure who they should let go to bring him in.

Plus, he's not nearly the most enticing Spurs-related soon-to-be free agent....

Posted by: ts35 | November 18, 2010 2:32 AM | Report abuse

IS ANYBODY ELSE TIRED OF THESE TIRED WIZARDS/REDSKINS TEAMS!! For at least the last 10-15 years we have been pushed around by other pro franchises and we the fans have been giving excuses and "wait to next year" expectations and then we get to next year they roll out the same ol' TIRED EXCUSES all over again!! I am a big fan of both these teams...born and raised IN WASHINGTON D.C.!! I remember the glory days for both these teams and now the management has destroyed the pride these teams use to have and given us a bunch of "take the money and not run" players! it's as if the GM's we've had/have were sent to keep us as average to way below average organizations and they were the only thing successful throughout the entire team...I am so tired of tuning in to watch hometown teams that I love and see them just get kicked around like chumps!! Man...this is ridiculous!!!!!!! Why can't we put (at the very least) competitive players on our teams? Does anyone have any answers? Please...

Posted by: ronniecope106 | November 18, 2010 3:18 AM | Report abuse

watched this one on the nba league pass - the boston announcers are easily the worst in the league that i've heard so far. beyond reasonable as "homers" and also just bad at factual knowledge about the visiting team and the game itself.

as for the wizards, hudson looked pretty lost, and seraphin looks nothing like a late first round draft pick much less a mid first round pick.

on the brighter side, mcgee looked good in some parts of the game. and i'm a believer in arenas continuing to improve. his defense was fairly awful though. hinrich had a nice third quarter and thornton had a few decent stretches.

all in all i don't mind a loss to the celtics, on the road, on the second night of a back to back. i'm a little depressed by the 4th quarter though. our bench looked pretty bad compared to the celtics. cartier martin and nick young looked like they belong on an nba roster. seraphin, booker, and hudson do not.

Posted by: acslater | November 18, 2010 3:32 AM | Report abuse

you know...if we as individuals performed year upon year (on the job)like the wizards have we would have been fired before the 90 day probation period! sometimes i wish we could just kick the entire franchise out of town...start over with a new team and GM (keep JWall)...well a man can dream but you wake up and reality smacks you in the face @ 7pm gametime!

Posted by: ronniecope106 | November 18, 2010 3:49 AM | Report abuse

"you know...if we as individuals performed year upon year (on the job)like the wizards have we would have been fired before the 90 day probation period!"

LOL if we'd been fired before the 90 day probation period, we wouldn't have been on the job year after year.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 18, 2010 4:58 AM | Report abuse

Lester Hudson didn't do himself any good last night. Have to make the most of his opportunity especially when you are trying to keep a spot on the team. Seraphin have some abilities but it's hard when you don't speak the language and have so much to learn. It's definitely going to be a process with him but they have at least 3 years to bring him along.

Posted by: spades72 | November 18, 2010 6:01 AM | Report abuse

For all of you bemoaning this loss so vociferously, read my comments about this season from the past 5 months.

We will win about 30 games, that means we will lose about 60. I have said I think we will have about an even number of blowouts (mostly on the back end of back-to-backs), close losses and wins.

We won on Tues night, so we were statistically due for a loss. In this case, the Celtics were really just 30 points better and deeper than a Wiz team with Wall and Howard in suits. And, they played up to their ability.

Just bear with it and enjoy watching the future HOF-er McGee slowly take over the league (and be glad we didn't draft Oden).

Wall/McGee is the core that can bring long term success to the Verizon Center. Just not much success this season.

on another note:
12 points unless Javale has learned how to get the elusive "Free throw block"

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | November 17, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I am not sure it is physically possible to block a FT attempt, but is it legal?

I mean, if McGee waited until the ball left a really short players hand and was able to beat the ball to its apex and swat it away, would it be a legal block?

Posted by: Blurred | November 18, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

I knew we were doomed when a blocked pass hit the backboard and came right to Garnett who dunked it.

Posted by: fearturtle44 | November 18, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

It's revealing in the post-game comments from the players, after losing to Orlando and Boston, that they recognize the great teams but don't try to adopt what makes them great: aggressive defense, focus, discipline, execution, competitive fire. The way Boston pressures the other team's perimeter players, every game, is just incredible. If you don't play D, you're not playing for Boston. Our guys are always talking about "needing to get my rhythm." How about saying, "I need to be much more aggressive on defense and shut my man down"?

Posted by: jweber1 | November 18, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

"be glad we didn't draft Oden)."

I'm already glad we didn't draft Oden. But he is a big talent if he could ever stay on the court. I'm sure Portland had visions of Bill Walton II. Not that he was ever that good, but he would have made them a serious contender.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 18, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

" How about saying, "I need to be much more aggressive on defense and shut my man down"?
Posted by: jweber1"

Even if you can't shut your man down (and sometimes it's just not possible), be in the correct position and help out your teammates.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 18, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

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