Back to work.
The Wiz took three of four from us last year. That's right. The 66-16 Boston Celtics lost three of four games to the 43-39 Washington Wizards. You can talk about "match-up" problems if you'd like. I'm gonna talk about circumstances.
The first two losses came after the Celtics 29-3 start, and they came in back-to-back games against them, a Saturday game at home and a Monday game away. The Celtics had already blown them out by 20 in the first game of the season, with the game being over at half. The third loss came after the Celtics had clinched the best record. In all three losses, then, one factor stands out as responsible--a Celtics' letdown.
The ESPN recap of the third loss suggests otherwise:
Boston really tried to win this game, at least more so than it has recently. Coach Doc Rivers, who has been resting his starters liberally since clinching the No. 1 overall seed in the Eastern Conference, put his top players back in the game in the fourth quarter with the game on the line, unlike in Tuesday's overtime win at Milwaukee.
But Doc Rivers clarified:
"We didn't play with much intensity, but, honestly, I understand that," Rivers said.
The most interesting part of the game came afterwards in the locker room, when Antawn Jamison said this:
It says a lot to beat them three games to one throughout the regular season. I think if the matchup was to occur as far as meeting them in the second round or whatever, it gives us the confidence to know that we can match up with them. We're taking their best shot.
The playoff meeting never happened, of course. But Jamison is still a Wizard. With all the talking the Celtics do, I'm sure they remember what Jamison said after their last meeting.