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Jae Crowder hits game-winning shot with 3.9 seconds remaining, Celtics win thriller 119-117

Jae Crowder hits game-winning shot with 3.9 seconds remaining, Celtics win thriller 119-117
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Source – By Bobby Manning Twitter – @RealBobManning

As the Wizards forced three turnovers in a matter of minutes, the pace kept increasing and the Celtics were taking the “D” out of Washington D.C., allowing their opponents to penetrate and pass with ease.

After their 5-6 start from the field, the C’s hit just two of their next eight field goal attempts as their offense deteriorated under an array of turnovers. Washington’s run extended to 28-15 and the C’s registered just one point from the 4:41 to 1:24 mark.

At the end of the first Boston found themselves trailing 31-24. Washington’s use of picks kept gradually bringing them closer to the basket on possession after possession with most of their baskets coming in or just outside the paint,

With Boston the second with Marcus Smart, Evan Turner, Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, and Tyler Zeller to pick up their pace, the Wizards scored seven behind the helpful inside push of Nene in the first three minutes.

But the entry of Smart began to yield some results later in the quarter. He would score six of Boston’s eight points midway through the quarter while holding Washington to just two baskets from 9:49 to 5:55. Showing the assertiveness the team badly needed at that point, his play helped bring the team within five points, scoring eight in his first 12 minutes on the court.

Past the four minute mark the pace picked up at both ends, as the Celtics got lay-ins from Crowder and Turner before Crowder came back to hit a three that Isaiah responded to with one of his own. But Washington kept up their scoring as well, as Wall poured in six points in three minutes along with a three from Jared Dudley. The two teams played to a 13-13 tie before in the final 3:49, which was enough to maintain the Wizard’s seven point lead at the half 61-54. Wall’s stunning 18 point, six assist, four steal half was the difference.

Out of the halftime break, Dudley hit a three to extend Washington’s lead to 10, but lit a fire under the Celtics. Breaking off for nine straight points from Bradley, Sullinger, Thomas, and Crowder off an I.T. steal; they drew within one point just three minutes into the third.

Wall would break up a 14-0 Celtics run with four straight and a steal to nod it up at 68 with 6:50 to go. Washington hadn’t scored from 11:26 to 7:48, but that 7-0 run in the aftermath by the Wizards put them back up three in a hurry. By this point the game became one of swings largely dictated by how Wall was performing. Playing even at 8-8 to the three minute mark, the Celtics watched as Sullinger went to the bench with five fouls.

Inserting Olynyk helped the C’s draw within three as he hit a jumper and Smart converted his shots on a three-point foul. Wall came back with a jumper, but Turner’s floater at the buzzer established an 86-83 Washington lead to start the fourth.

Entering the final frame with Smart, Bradley, Turner, Jonas Jerebko, and Olynyk boosted the C’s to a 8-4 edge and drew ahead 91-90. But every Wall dagger from mid-range was a painful reminder of how unstable Boston’s leads were.

With a snap of a finger it was gone again as Ramon Sessions hit two free throws and the 15th Celtics turnover was driven the other way by Wall for a vicious slam dunk and his 30th point. A possession later, he found Sessions for three and D.C led 97-93.

Scoring on three of their next four possessions, the Wizards maintained the pace they had been setting on the game all night long while Crowder and Thomas tried desperately to pull ahead. Washington led 104-101 when Sullinger returned to the game, but he would last for less than a minute before picking up his sixth foul battling with Marcin Gortat down low.

After two straight stops Amir Johnson got to the free throw line to give Boston a 105-104 lead, before Isaiah pushed them up three in the next possession. With 1:38 to go Isaiah hit a ridiculous fadeaway to push Boston up 111-106.

All the while Wall had been held scoreless since the 8:33 mark. But he returned with a vengeance with one minute to go, stealing his seventh ball of the night and bring it back for a hard slam to bring the Wizards within one.

Coming back needing a bucket, Bradley heaved up a desperation three that Crowder got a hand on to tip out to Turner for a fresh 24. Out of the timeout Bradley set himself again 3and buried a three to make it 114-110 Celtics.

The next possession saw Wall attempt a three with Johnson in his face and draw a foul call, while Crowder got caught with contact from Nene underneath. No call was made on Nene and after Wall missed his first free throw Crowder was hit with a technical, giving Wall another one to make it 114-113.

In the ensuing scramble Isaiah and Wall each hit two at the line before the Wizards grabbed Johnson, who split his shots at the line. Crowder was called for a foul battling with Wall for the rebound. Temple went to the line and hit two free throws to tie it.

The Celtics had 13 seconds and orchestrated a masterpiece. Isaiah swung to Smart who lobbed the ball inside to Crowder who had all the positioning over Oubre. He laid it in, Wall missed a full-court drive to the rim at the buzzer, and the Celtics had their third straight win.”

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