Highlights from Wizards loss to Cleveland
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are about to find out it’s not how you start, but how you finish.
For the Wizards, the opposite was true in their home-opening 89-86 loss to the Boston Celtics at Verizon Center Saturday night.
With star guard John Wall [knee] and big forward Nene [plantar fasciitis] watching in dress clothes, the Wizards needed to play a near perfect game against Paul Piece, Kevin Garnett and the rest of the Celtics.
For three quarters the Wizards did just that, outplaying the Celtics for long stretches, but they could not turn back the clock on a horrendous start in which they trailed by 15 before a crowd of 20,308 could get comfortable in their seats.
Cartier Martin drained a 3-ball from the corner and followed with a steal and an uncontested lay-in to draw the Wizards within three at 82-79 with 4:52 remaining in the fourth quarter and Jannero Pargo tied it with just over 3 minutes to play.
When Kevin Seraphin drained a jumper to give the Wizards their first lead of the game with 2:54 remaining, it looked as though the Wizards might be on the verge of pulling off their first upset win of the season.
But Pierce nailed a three, Jordan Crawford missed a three and then, with two chances to take the lead, Martin and Seraphin turned the ball over in back-to-back trips down the court.
Trailing 87-86 with 4.5 seconds to play, the Wizards had a chance to win with their final shot but a long-range, off-balance shot by Martell Webster was off the mark and the Wizards were left to wonder what might have been.
Even the most jaded Wizards fan could not have predicted the home opener would start off as badly as it did. The Celtics ran out to a 17-2 lead less than 8 minutes into the game, much to the delight of the thousands of fans decked in Kelly green.
By the end of the opening quarter the Celtics owned a 26-12 lead while holding the Wizards to just 21 percent shooting from the field, with A.J. Price and Emeka Okafor a combined 1-for-8.
Ugly would have been a flattering description.
But things slowly began to improve for the Wizards in the second quarter.
Given the unenviable task of shutting down Kevin Garnett, Wizards forward Kevin Seraphin outscored the Celtics big man 8-6 in the second quarter and Jordan Crawford outscored Paul Pierce 7-5 to cut the Wizards’ deficit at halftime to 49-42.
The Wizards shot a far more respectable 67 percent in the second quarter, thanks to Trevor Booker [3-for-4] and Seraphin [4-for-4].
The Wizards stayed with the Celtics in the third quarter as well, outscoring them 25-22 to enter the final quarter trailing by just four at 71-67. Crawford was again the catalyst with 10 points to give him 20 through three quarters.