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Why the Wizards’ win over the Celtics was the wackiest game of the year

Boston and Washington both had chances to win in regulation and the first overtime if not for silly mistakes.

NBA: Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Somehow, the Washington Wizards beat the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, a chaotic 125-124 double-overtime victory that was missing star players galore. Instead, this game made up for it with too many ridiculous plays to count and a couple overtime periods that really never should have happened, but did. Watching this game was an emotional roller coaster; hopefully, reading about it captures that even partially.

Boston was without Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, and Jaylen Brown, among others. Washington is still missing John Wall, though he’s nearing a return. Regardless, that should explain the mishmash lineups you’ll see closing these games.

Washington trailed by 20 damn points early in the second quarter, but they erased that deficit and entered the fourth quarter up one. Marcus Morris canned an enormous three-pointer for Boston with 45 seconds left, putting the Celtics up four. (Reminder: Marcus plays for the Celtics, while his twin brother Markieff Morris is a Wizard.) Washington played the foul game, and they ended up with one chance to tie the game with five seconds left.

Marcus Morris forgets the score

It’s a 116-113 Celtics lead. With five seconds left, it would be very difficult for the Wizards to score a quick two, have time to foul again, and then get another decent look to tie the game. But when the inbounds pass goes to Otto Porter cutting down the lane, Marcus Morris starts towards him anyway ... leaving Jodie Meeks wide open in the corner.

A shooter should never be that open in a must-have-a-three-pointer situation like that one, yet Washington got just that from a career 37-percent shooter. It’s a huge gaffe, and one that sends this game to overtime. Even Greg Monroe couldn’t believe it.

Washington can’t inbound properly in overtime

The Wizards had this game right here! Otto Porter drove, was fouled, and hit two free throws with 19.6 seconds left to put Washington up 115-113. On the ensuing inbounds, Boston threw it away. But weirdness ensued, as was par the course for this game.

  • Tomas Satoransky attempted to dribble away from the Celtics defense after coming up with the turnover. He assumed they would foul him. They did!
  • But the Wizards had also tried to take a timeout in that situation, and Brad Stevens started arguing with the referees that they took it before the foul. The timeout was granted.
  • Washington had to inbounds from a weird spot, basically in front of their own bench on the far side of the basket. The pass goes to Bradley Beal streaking the wrong direction, and then off his hands out of bounds.

So it’s Boston ball again, and ...

Jayson Tatum ties it. Then doesn’t win it.

The rookie’s clutch!

... and then he misses the and-one free throw, sending the game to a second overtime.

The Wizards almost cough up another lead

You can see Beal is exhausted — he’ll finish with 27 shot attempts in 47 minutes — but he drives for a super smooth and-one reverse finish with 1:25 left in the second overtime. Washington goes up 125-119. There’s still too much time for it to be over, but Boston’s getting into desperation mode. One more Wizards stop, or one more Wizards bucket, might do it.

They give five points back in 38 seconds with a Greg Monroe layup and Terry Rozier three.

The final 46 seconds run out without a timeout or a stoppage. Beal missed a shot with about 28 seconds left, and then Tatum’s attempted game-winning three clanks off back iron.

So that’s how Washington won in absolutely ridiculous fashion on Wednesday. The win’s more important for them, jockeying for the No. 3 seed with Cleveland, than Boston. The Celtics will be fine — they were missing three starters and saw a rookie make a couple mistakes in an otherwise stellar performance. They can shake their head at Morris’ mental lapse, but what are you really going to do?

Celtics-Wizards would be a fun playoff series, though. We’ll remember this madness if it is.