Following Sunday’s disappointing loss to the Nuggets, Celtics coach Brad Stevens lamented his team’s lack of physicality. He undoubtedly was hoping the C’s would show some fight in Wednesday’s night’s game against the Wizards, who came in at 1-5.
No such luck.
Boston was outscored 34-8 in the first quarter — the biggest first-quarter deficit in franchise history — never mounted a serious comeback bid, and for the second straight game watched an opposing player turn in a career night. Three days after Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay exploded for 30 points at TD Garden, the Celtics watched as Wizards forward Otto Porter erupted for a career-high 34 points on 14-of-19 shooting to go along with a career-high-tying 14 rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks — one of them on a Jaylen Brown dunk attempt in the third quarter.
Porter said the Wizards wanted this game badly.
“This, to us, was like must-win,” he told CSNNE’s Abby Chin before leaving the court. “We had to get this one. Whatever it takes.”
Meanwhile, with Al Horford (concussion) and Jae Crowder (ankle) still sidelined — but with Kelly Olynyk making his first appearance (2 points, 6 rebounds in 26 minutes) — the C’s were again hammered on the boards, as Washington held a 54-31 rebounding advantage.
The C’s (3-4) were led by Isaiah Thomas (23 points, 10 assists), Avery Bradley (21 points) and Marcus Smart (20 points).
Smart also was involved in an incident with John Wall. With 5:24 remaining and the Wizards comfortably in command, Wall inexplicably tackled Smart around the head and threw him to the ground — ostensibly while trying to steal the ball. Smart got up and immediately started an animated conversation with the Wizards star, although he showed remarkable restraint considering Wall’s seemingly unprovoked attack.
Wall was ejected — for the second straight game — while Smart was given a technical foul.
Stud of the game: Otto Porter
The third-year pro had his way with the C’s from start to finish. “My coaches put me in position to be aggressive,” Porter told CSNNE. “I continually looked to attack, mix up the coverages, and my teammates were able to find me.”
Dud of the game: The Celtics rebounders
The undersized C’s gave up 19 offensive rebounds to the Wizards, and the hosts capitalized on the second chances.
When the game was lost: When the C’s were outscored 34-8 in the first quarter
The Celtics have allowed the opposition to shoot 60.8 percent (31-for-51) in the first quarter of the last two games — both humiliating losses.