D.C. -- If at first you don’t succeed. Don’t try again. Change what you did the first time.
Jeff Green missed a fadeaway three-pointer at the end of regulation. When the time came for another play to win the game it was Gerald Wallace with the ball in his hands, and he drove right at his defender for the game-winning layup with 2.5 seconds left.
Stevens wanted his team to have a shot at the rim for their final play.
“Gerald’s a forceful driver, so he’s going to get to where he wants to go,” Stevens said after the game. “Everybody did their job exceptionally well on that play and that’s what you have to do.”
The Boston Celtics (15-29) escaped D.C. with a 113-111 win over the Washington Wizards (20-21) on Wednesday night after nearly toppling the Miami Heat the night before.
On paper this game was over before it began. The visiting Boston Celtics would be without their entire starting back court. Rajon Rondo sat after playing last night vs the Miami Heat and Avery Bradley is out a couple weeks due to a sprained ankle.
The home team had fought their way back to .500 and if they stay healthy, can definitely make a run at the 3-seed in the Eastern Conference.
That’s why they play the game (sorry, I couldn’t help myself there).
These kinds of games from Jeff Green might not come frequently enough for Boston Celtics fans -- and probably Brad Stevens -- but you take them when you can.
Green played his most complete game of the season. He attacked the basket and was simply on fire from downtown (8-16 from three point range) as he scored a season-high 39 points.
Some will say the highlight of the night was when he made a ridiculously clutch fadeaway three-pointer to tie the game at 99 apiece with 1:17 left in the fourth quarter. I thought his best play came in overtime when he started at the top of the key, split three defenders, and switching hands in mid-air, kissing the ball off the glass to give Boston a 106-103 lead with 2:06 remaining.
And he did it in front of family and friends in the city he grew up in and where he played his college ball (Georgetown).
“My old locker is right down the hall, I live 10 minutes from here. There’s a lot of comfort here. It’s like my second home.”
Nothing like a little home-cooking to get Green into a productive mindset.
“I just put myself in a position where I had to be the man to carry the team,” Green said after the game. “We need everybody to be aggressive.”
As for his one-footed circus shot?
“We shoot trick shots all the time, me and Avery [Bradley].”
Wallace made sure no one would remember Green’s brick at the end of regulation.
John Wall, the most talented player on the court, tallied his second career triple-double (28 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists), but it didn’t come easy. He was just 9-29 from the field.
Phil Pressey, starting in place of Rondo and the only healthy point guard for Boston, scored a career high 20 points. He made four of his five three-pointers after hitting just six all season before tonight.
“It’s not what he does every night,” Stevens told the media after the game though he added that the team has been “imploring him to shoot every time he’s open “because he has to. You have to keep the defense honest. He deserves to make shots for how hard he works.”
Pressey came up with some major hustle plays as well, forcing a jump ball against Wall in the fourth quarter. The rookie point guard said there was only one thought in his head going into that play: “I’m winning this jump ball.”
That kind of attitude is exactly what Stevens is looking for as he said after the game.
“I like hungry. Hungry is fun to coach. Hungry is fun to be around.”
The Celtics scored 61 points in the first half. They nearly blew yet another double-digit lead. Boston held an 18 point advantage at halftime, yet allowed the Wizards to storm back, getting outscored 30-17 in the third quarter.
Boston hosts the red-hot Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night at 7:30pm Eastern at the TD Garden.