Johnson: Wizards win home finale

Johnson: Wizards win home finale
April 12, 2011, 2:11 am
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Monday, April 11, 2011 10:07 p.m.


By Dave Johnson Washington -- In so many ways the immediate future of the Wizards franchise is in John Walls hands. So it was only fitting,that's where the ball ended up as time expired in the Wizards 95-94overtime victory againstthe Boston Celtics in their home finale.With the Wizards clinging to a one-point lead, the Celtics had the ball with 5.9 seconds left in overtime. Carlos Arroyo had a good look from 17-feet, but his shot ricocheted high into the air. Wall was then able to snare his 9th rebound in between the taller Glen Davis and Jermaine ONeal.In securing their fourth consecutive home win, the Wizards were able to overcome a sluggish start and play through a game that was no beauty contest. Along with his 9 rebounds, Wall scored a game-high 24 points, but only had 3 assists as the Wizards shot 40 percent from the field.The Celtics dropped to the third seed in the Eastern Conference with a loss to Miami on Sunday, and decided to rest their big four against the Wizards. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo were all spectators.Still the Celtics have depth and they proved it by opening the game on a 12-2 run. The bigger Glen Davis was a match-up challenge for Andray Blatche and Maurice Evans had to deal with the taller Jeff Green. Davis and Green each led the Celtics with 20 points. Green also had 15 rebounds.A grinder, said Wizards head coach Flip Saunders of the victory. I think there is no question that when they (Boston) take out a couple of guys, you kind of relax. They still had four guys that have been there in the NBA Finals and Conference Finals, so they were still a veteran team on the floor.After stumbling to a 23-12 deficit, the Wizards responded on a 16-0 run. Othyus Jeffers completed the run on a fast-break slam dunk off a behind-the-back pass from JaVale McGee. The prosperity wouldnt last as later in the second quarter the Celtics took off on a 15-0 run.The game was choppy with neither team able to take control. The flow of the game was interrupted by the 56 fouls called on the two teams. Both Blatche and McGee played under 30 minutes because of foul trouble. McGee fouled out with 1:44 left in overtime and Blatche 15-seconds later.Blatche, who finished with 16 points, blocked his 4rth shot of the game on the Celtics ONeal with 27 seconds left in regulation and the Wizards trailing 83-79. Wall was then able to bait Arroyo into a foul on a three-point attempt, and his made free throws cut the Celtics lead to 83-82.After Von Wafer split a pair of free throws to extend the Celtics lead to 84-82, Jordan Crawford forced overtime. Crawford hit a 14-foot baseline jumper to tie the game at 84 with 5.4 seconds on the clock. Out of timeouts, the Celtics ended up turning the ball over in their zeal to make something happen in the final seconds of regulation.With 3:01 in overtime, there was sign the game might turn for the Wizards. Wafer missed a driving dunk. ONeal grabbed the rebound for the Celtics, but Wafer collided into him and forced a double-dribble. The Wizards then tied the game at 88 on the next possession.It was Crawfords time again with 38 seconds remaining in the overtime. From the block Yi spotted Crawford open on the wing and Crawford nailed a 26-foot jump shot to give the Wizards a 95-92 lead. Crawford finished with 17 points.It was big because the fans have been coming out even though weve lost a lot of games, Crawford said. They come out strong. It was big to play like that in front of them and it was big for us.