Returning Unicorn and Celtics Worked the Wizards

WASHINGTON, DC -OCTOBER 30: Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) greets guard Jaylen Brown (7) as the Washington Wizards call a timeout during first half action at Capital One Arena on October 30, 2023. (Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

By Wole Akinso

Washington, DC— In the return of former Washington Wizards forward Kristaps Porzinigis, the Wizards were dominated by the Boston Celtics 126-107.   The Celtics (3-0) blitzed the Wizard early featuring Porzingis in the first quarter on screen and roll action, locating him on mismatches in the post.  Porzingis had 10 points in the quarter.  The Wizards were also shorthanded with center Daniel Gafford out with an injury.  Rookie 6’8 forward Bilal Coulibaly had the task of guarding 7’3 Porzingis.  Porzingis knew that the Wizards utilize a small line-up, but he thought someone other than the rookie would guard him initially.

“They had to put somebody on me you know.  I thought maybe Kuz was going to guard me just because he has a big strong body. Then you have to guard all those other guys also. I’m not the main focus.  So, they had to put the young guy on me and I think he did a good job fighting.”

Porzingis finished the game with 15 points, but this game was highlighted by the play of Celtics forward Jaylen Brown. The Wizards couldn’t stop Brown.  Brown scored 16 points in the 1st quarter which led to the Celtics winning the first quarter 37-11.  Brown was in a zone and set the tone Monday night.  He talked about his aggressive mindset after the game.

“Whether I made, missed it, you know it is what it is.  I’m going to come out and keep being aggressive every time I touch the ball. So, you know, you make a shot. It’s great but you don’t know if the next one is going to go in or whatever.  You just got to stay in that mind frame of just being aggressive and that’s kind of what I do.”

Brown finished the game with 36 points and went 8 of 13 from the three-point line to lead the Celtics. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum also had a monster game scoring 33 points.  The Celtics were too much for a weakened Wizards team.  Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma finished the game with 21 points.  He wanted to see his teammates show more of a competitive spirit.

“This is a good learning lesson for us. I think, we may lose a ton of games this year, but it can’t be like that.  I think for us we need to find our competitive spirit within all of this.”

Kuzma also talked about playing against his friend and former teammate Porzingis.

“He made a huge impact here.  He was a great locker room guy.  Everybody loved him and I’m happy for him.  He has a chance to really do something that he wants to do in his career, and he’s never really had that opportunity to play on a contending type of team and he fits in seamlessly over there.”

The Wizards (1-2) travel down to Atlanta to take on the Hawks.  Will this team be stuck in the mud after what Porzingis, Brown, and Tatum did to them?  They’ll answer that Wednesday night.

Wole Akinso