Oct 27, 2021
Harrell shines in relief of Gafford, Wizards beat Celtics
Montrezl Harrell scored 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting and had 11 rebounds in the Washington Wizards’ 116-107 victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.
The Canadian Press
BOSTON (AP) — Montrezl Harrell scored 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting and had 11 rebounds in the Washington Wizards’ 116-107 victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.
Spencer Dinwiddie added 22 points, and Bradley Beal had 17 for the Wizards. They have opened the season 3-1.
Jayson Tatum had 23 points for Boston, Dennis Schroder added 22, and Robert Williams III had 13 points and 11 rebounds. The Celtics had won back-to-back road games.
Washington center Daniel Gafford had to be helped off the court and was brought straight to the locker room midway into the second quarter and didn’t return. The team said he had a right quadriceps contusion, and coach Wes Unseld Jr. didn’t have any update after the game.
The 6-foot-10 Gafford collided with Boston forward Jaylen Brown and went to the floor, grabbing his right leg just out of bounds across from Boston’s bench. Brown immediately grabbed his right knee but stayed in the game.
Unlike Boston’s home opener when first-year coach Ime Udoka said the Celtics got “punked” after a 32-point loss to Toronto, Boston rallied after falling behind by 15 points midway into the third quarter.
“I think we did a great job of just breathing, slowing it down and figuring our composure out,” Washington forward Kyle Kuzma said. “I think once we did that, we did a great job. Obviously those moments are great and its great to have them on the road.”
The Wizards led by one midway into the fourth before going on an 8-0 spree, with Aaron Holiday getting three of the four baskets.
Washington had a 10-point edge with 3 1/2 minute to go, but Boston cut it to 108-105 on Schroder’s 3. Beal and Dinwiddie each had a basket to put it away.
“The second half we had 12 turnovers. I think we paid the price for that,” Unseld said. “Understanding how important those possessions are because we’re going to find ourselves in a lot of close games. It’s important to value the ball and take care of it by, at least, getting a shot to the rim.”
Boston trailed 79-64 in the third quarter.
“Our intensity and focus wasn’t there from the start,” Udoka said. “You could see it in the first quarter; honestly from shootaround, where I got on them for lack of focus.”
Boston center Al Horford was noticeably upset after loss.
“I expected us to come out here and win, and be at a certain level,” he said. “We need to be better than this. There’s a lot of work ahead for us.”
Wizards: Harrell dominated the paint in the first half, scoring 17 points and driving the lane for some easy baskets. … Thomas Bryant (recovering, left knee injury), Anthony Gill (strained right calf), Raul Neto (bruised left shoulder), Cassius Winston (strained left hamstring) were all out.
Celtics: Horford returned to the lineup after missing the previous game with a left adductor strain. With Horford back and in the starting lineup, guard Dennis Schroder was part of the second unit. … Romeo Langford was out with a strained left calf. … Tatum was whistled for a technical just before halftime.
The scoreboard in the arena had Boston with an extra two points for about three minutes in the final quarter. In fact, it said: Boston 96, Washington 95, until it was changed with just over seven minutes left, taking the two points away. The referees talked at the scorer’s table before it got corrected.
“Yeah, they told us,” Unseld said when asked if he knew. “They fixed it.”
Tatum rode an exercise bike that was located right next to fans in elevated seating behind a basket off from the Celtics’ bench, trying to stay loose when he came out of the game. At one point, a fan walked down the aisle, put his phone on “selfie” mode and started to take a picture with Tatum in the background but security asked the patron to leave.
Wizards: Host Atlanta on Thursday night.
Celtics: At Washington on Saturday night.