Boston Celtics vs. Washington Wizards  October 31, 2002  7:30pm
This was a good game for about 5 minutes, if you were a Celtics fan.  If you rooted for Washington, you got 43 minutes worth of team highlights from Jordan and Kwame Brown.  Can't blame the refs for this one.  So far as I know, there was no Halloween curse, no hexes, no voodoo dolls-- just some really, really bad Celtics basketball--countered by some really, really good Wizards basketball.

This game hearkened back to the absolute worst of the Rick Pitino era.  The Washington Wizards used and abused the Celtics like the doormat in "Animal House".  I really hate reviewing games like this.  There's very little good here, unless the Good Guys (who were Mediocre Guys tonight) learned their lesson from this nationally televised embarrassment.  OK, on with the description, fit only as a horrid Halloween tale.
 

First Quarter:

The game opened well, as the Celtics played good defense, and looked like they were containing Stackhouse, at least to a reasonable.  The Good Guys were also hitting their shots, en route to a 5-0 lead as Washington went 0-6 to start with.  That was the most positive point of the game.  The first two minutes of the game.

Everything went downhill from there.  The Celtics did manage to keep the lead until the very end of the first quarter, but it was obvious that the Wizards were brewing a comeback.  The Celtics started missing their shots inside, and on those occasions when they drew a foul, often missed the free throws.  On the other paw, when Washington was fouled, it was often on a made basket, so they were going for a three point play.

Toward the end of the quarter, neither team was shooting well--both in the low-to-mid-30% range--but the Wizards were slightly better.   At this stage, Jordan had come off the bench and played 6 minutes, with 4 points on 1-4 shooting.  He didn't look like he was going to be any kind of a factor.  The problem was, Pierce had started the game and had 2 points on 1-6 shooting.  The first quarter ended with the Wizards holding a slim lead at 24-21.
 

Second Quarter:

There wasn't a lot to tell--simply put, the Celtics defense dissolved, and the offense was crushed by swarming Washington defense.  There was no sign of anyone trying to pull the team together and PLAY like a team.  There were some nice individual efforts here and there from different players--Vin Baker kept trying to get loose inside, for one thing, a nice counterpoint to all those rotten outside shots Walker and Pierce threw up.

It took less than three minutes into the quarter for Washington to establish a 10 point lead.  The rest of the quarter, Boston tried to catch up, but the lead fluctuated between 7-11 points right through to halftime.  That's not going to cut into any leads.  Turnovers were about even, and the C's and Wiz both went 2-5 from three point land in the first half.  Basically, Washington wasn't doing it from outside, but right under the hoop.  Jordan, who ended the half with 15 points on 5-10 shooting in 13 minutes,  punctuated the end of the quarter by stripping Pierce of tha ball and sinking a jumper to give the Wizards the halftime lead with the score 58-40.

HALFTIME

Major cookie break.  Also took chocolate milk.  Lots of it.

By this time, the C's were shooting 31% to the Wizards' 46%.  The free throws, astonishingly, weren't as bad as I had feared in one sense, with Boston hitting 9-12.  The problem was, Washington had hit 16-18 from the line.  Jordan sure wasn't playing like a 39 year old on the comeback trail.  And I haven't even gotten around to Kwame Brown yet.

I really expected the Celtics to come out on fire.  Put the Wiz in their place.  Silly me.  The announcers for TNT, annoying and cloying as they were, spent the vast majority of the game talking about Jordan's playing time.  After all, it's not like there was a seriously contested game going on out there by this point.  So, I scarfed another cookie and settled back to let the second half begin.
 

Third Quarter:

Things got worse.  The Celtics did almost nothing right, and the few things they did right, they did badly.  The quarter mercifully ended with Washington having extended it's lead to a score of 85-60.
 

Fourth Quarter:

I held my breath hoping the C's would somehow roar back and win as the final phase began.  Four minutes later the score was 91-64.  After that, the lead just kept growing like a fungus in a leaky cellar.  This monumental embarrassment to ineptitude was finally put to rest with a final score of 114-69.
 

I'm not a prude, or anything, but the kind of words I'd have to use to accurately describe my disgust would most certainly offend everybody to some degree.  I think that the Celtics better spend the next few days deciding what kind of team they want to be.  We aren't really back three years ago, we KNOW these guys can do better.  But tonight, the effort, such as it was, failed utterly.  I expect better, starting with the enxt game.  I don't mind QUITE so much losing to Washington--it's losing like THIS.  Phooey.  By the way, it ranks as officially the worst loss in Celtics history--the previous low coming in 128-84 loss to Portland in 1977.  Forget playing "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" at midnight--just pop this into the VCR and watch everyone run screaming like you'd just entered the room with a hockey mask and a butcher knife.

And that's the view of this stinkeroo from the doghouse.
 
 
 
 

Scoring by quarters:
1st quarter 2nd quarter 3rd quarter 4th quarter Final
Celtics 21 19 20 9 69
Wizards 24 34 27 29 114

Boston Celtics
PLAYER POS MIN FGM-A 3GM-A FTM-A OFFR DEFR TOTR AST PF ST TO BS PTS
PAUL PIERCE G 38 3-16 0-6 6-7 0 6 6 6 1 2 1 1 12
TONY DELK G 24 2-7 2-4 2-2 0 1 1 2 2 1 1 0 8
ANTOINE WALKER F 34 5-16 1-6 1-1 2 7 9 0 2 1 7 0 12
ERIC WILLIAMS F 21 2-4 1-2 0-2 0 1 1 1 2 0 0 0 5
TONY BATTIE C 14 3-3 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 0 3 0 0 0 6
Shammond Williams 32 3-8 2-2 2-2 1 0 1 3 3 1 1 0 10
Vin Baker 25 3-9 0-1 3-4 5 0 5 1 1 0 1 0 9
Walter McCarty 20 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0
Bruno Sundov 16 2-11 1-6 0-0 0 3 3 1 5 0 1 0 5
J.R. Bremer 9 0-3 0-3 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ruben Wolkowyski 7 1-3 0-1 0-2 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 2
Kedrick Brown IL
TOTAL 24-81 7-31 14-20 8 23 31 14 23 5 12 1 69
.296 .226 .700
Team Rebounds: 10
Total TO: 13
 

Washington Wizards
PLAYER POS MIN FGM-A 3GM-A FTM-A OFFR DEFR TOTR AST PF ST TO BS PTS
JERRY STACKHOUSE G 39 6-14 0-2 10-10 2 5 7 10 1 1 3 0 22
LARRY HUGHES G 16 0-2 0-0 0-0 1 3 4 0 4 0 4 0 0
KWAME BROWN F 32 8-12 0-0 4-5 3 3 6 1 3 1 3 6 20
BRYON RUSSELL F 20 2-9 0-3 1-1 4 3 7 0 0 2 1 0 5
BRENDAN HAYWOOD C 22 2-5 0-0 1-1 2 9 11 0 4 0 1 0 5
Tyronn Lue 35 4-8 2-5 0-0 0 5 5 5 2 0 1 0 10
Jared Jeffries 29 5-7 2-2 0-1 1 4 5 1 1 0 1 0 12
Michael Jordan 21 8-15 0-0 5-5 0 4 4 5 1 2 0 1 21
Christian Laettner 16 3-3 0-0 0-1 1 4 5 4 2 2 0 0 6
Juan Dixon 6 3-5 0-1 0-0 0 4 4 1 0 0 0 0 6
Etan Thomas 4 2-2 0-0 3-4 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 7
Charles Oakley DNP-C
TOTAL 43-82 4-13 24-28 15 44 59 27 19 8 14 7 114
.524 .308 .857
Team Rebounds: 6
Total TO: 16