Despite a pair of injuries in a rocky second quarter, the Celtics are moving on to the playoffs. They battled back in the second half to defeat the No.8 Wizards 118-100.
A strong offense gave Boston a 6-point lead at the end of the first. Marcus Smart led the Celtics with 7 points in addition to an assist and a steal.
Along with Smart were several other Boston stars who helped give the team the lead. Tatum and Kemba ran up the score with a combined 11 points, while Williams had 4 points and 4 rebounds.
Making half of their 10 3-pointer attempts also helped Boston finish the quarter 27-21 over the Wizards.
After a solid showing to start the game, Smart exited the game after twisting his ankle and was placed on the bench, despite wanting to stay in the lineup.
Williams also left the game with a hyperextended toe. He has also been struggling with turf toe, which had fans questioning if he would even play in tonight’s game. Before exiting the court, he helped keep the lead in the first half and was looking to carry this performance into the second half.
The Celtics couldn’t build off their first-quarter lead, unable to continue their 3-pointer streak and missing all 12 attempts in this quarter. They headed into the second half trailing 54-52.
Despite 22 points for Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook’s 14 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists, Boston came back after half-time fired up and outscored the Wizards.
They finished this quarter 90-80, giving themselves a 10 point lead going into the final quarter. Tatum continued to heat up, scoring 23 of Boston’s 38 points in this quarter. Kemba also helped create momentum by scoring 9, combining with Tatum for 32 of the 38.
In the final quarter, Tatum showed why he’s an All-star, reaching 50 as the clock began to wind down to its final minutes.
The Wizards were unable to match Tatum’s highlights and overcome Boston’s postseason performance.
This win gives Boston the 7th seed as they advance to playoffs, where they will take on the Nets. With the Wizards’ loss, they will face the Pacers, as both teams battle to make it out of the play-in tournament and into the first round of playoffs.