(Originally posted on 4SportBoston.com )
Are you superstitious?
The Celtics were riding an eight-game winning streak when they strolled down to my 'hood of Washington D.C., and I was excited to see them at the Verizon Center.
However, the last time I went to a Celtics-Wizards match-up, it didn't end the way I expected.
Back in January 2008, I saw the Wizards come back in the fourth quarter and beat the Celtics . I wrote it off as a tough road loss until I saw the Wizards do the same thing at the Garden two days later .
So I knew that the Wizards would play the Celtics tough, and it was certainly the case last night. The big green machine ended the first half strong with a 60-46 lead going into halftime after playing a second half where they held the Wizards without a single rebound.
But just like the Patriots in the second half of a football game, the Wizards came out of halftime ready to play and quickly tied the game with five minutes left in the third quarter. Now we had a basketball game.
However, unlike the Patriots, as soon as the game was tied, the Celtics turned it on and jumped back on top 83-74 at the end of the third quarter. An impressive feat to those I was watching the game with.
It all came down to the fourth quarter when with 1:56 left on the clock the Wizards once again caught up and tied it all up 96-96. Rajon Rondo drove it to the hole for his 19th point of the game (he would end the game with a team high 21).
Antawn Jamison responded with a layup of his own. Now tied 98 apiece, Rondo once again made a statement with a drive and a dunk. Celtics up 100-98 with 1:09 left to play.
As the seconds ticked away, it was still anybody's game and it wasn't until Gilbert Arenas fouled Paul Pierce that the Celtics edged out the Wizards.
After Pierce goes one for two at the line, the Wizards had the ball and I thought the the Wizards would try for a three-pointer to tie the game.
Instead, with less than 20 seconds left, Arenas held onto the ball and drove it in for two points. Celtics still up 101-100.
Along with missing a pair of key free throws I can imagine Arenas will take a lot of the heat for the loss.
Now that the Celtics had possession I knew that it would simply become a game of "hack-a-Celtic" and as long as they could hold up on the free-throw line they would be fine.
After the Arenas layup, Jamison foul Ray Allen, who then nails the coffin with a pair of free throws. The Wizards now need a three-point shot to tie it back up with 14.6 seconds left.
By luck, they did have those chances, but both Arenas and Randy Foye missed terrible attempts to take the game into overtime. An Andray Blatche foul on Kendrick Perkins finally allowed the Celtics to put the game out of reach.
It was a nail biter at the end, but all-in-all a great game where the Celtics simply had control most of the game. Here are three things I saw at the game and three things you probably didn't see on TNT or CSN.
Three Things I Learned At The Game
Rajon Rondo Is The Only Celtic Who Can Drive It To The Hole
I expected a lot of perimeter shooting and 18-foot jumpers, and that's what I got.
However, Rondo looks great and willing to get into the paint for some tough points. His value to the team can't be overrated as he provides that other dimension to the team.
Rasheed Wallace Still Is A Disappointment In The Offensive Game
Besides his four free throws, he put up a big donut in the shooting game. He did, however, come through with four defensive rebounds.
The Celtics Are A Great Passing Force
When it comes to teamwork, the Celtics impress. You'll hear about the sloppy play the Wizards put up and all you need to see is how the two teams pass the ball to see it. The Celtics had crisp passes while the Wizards pretty much didn't pass at all.
Three Things You Didn't See On TV
Paul Pierce Was Booed For Free Chicken Sandwiches
There was more on the line when Paul Pierce nailed two free throws in the fourth quarter. As part of a Chik-Fil-A in-game promotion, if Pierce missed two consecutive free throws, the entire Arena would get free chicken sandwiches, thus the home crowd booed extra loud when he was on the line.
The Verizon Center Wants Pierce and Sheldon Williams To Make Out
The Kiss Cam isn't anything new at sporting events, but at the Verizon Center they like to end the third quarter attraction with a shot of two players of the opposing team.
As a media time-out ended they camera focused on Pierce and Williams. Pierce wasn't watching, but Williams looked uncomfortable.
Wolf Blitzer Loves To Tweet
I heard it wasn't shown on CSN, but did the TNT viewers catch some of his Tweets?