- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 16, 2000


BOSTON The Washington Wizards did just about everything right last night. They shot the ball well, they cut down on their turnovers and they even showed some heart in battling back from double-digit deficits on more than one occasion.
But when a team is as hot from the outside as the Boston Celtics were last night, they are going to be hard to beat.
In front of 13,915 at the FleetCenter, the Celtics ended a four-game losing streak with a 116-109 victory over the Wizards by scoring 30 points on 3-point baskets. Boston made 10 of 16 shots from behind the arc.
The Celtics' marksmanship, however, was not a good enough excuse for Wizards coach Leonard Hamilton.
"You always try to come up with something to justify when you're not successful," Hamilton said. "Once again I think we allowed ourselves to dig ourselves into a hole, and it took a lot of emotion and effort to come out of it. I was proud that we put ourselves in position to win the game. But toward the end of the game we just didn't finish the game once again."
For the second game in a row the Wizards got out of the gate slowly, allowing the Celtics to score 37 points on 16 of 26 shooting. Washington has been outscored 65-42 in the first quarters of its last two games. Before last night's opening quarter was over, the Wizards were looking at a 15-point deficit.
Even though the Wizards eventually tied the game in the third quarter at 81-81 on a three-point play by point guard Rod Strickland, the inability to defend the Celtics (3-4) early doomed the Wizards (2-7) to their fourth loss in a row.
"I'm gonna tell you what was the problem," Juwan Howard said after matching his season high of 25 points. "Our defense was horrible in the first half. Our defense is something that has been good for us so far in this season, but tonight we didn't do a good job in the first half defensively. It was just a bad team effort on the defensive end tonight."
One thing that wasn't a problem was turnovers. Washington had turned the ball over an average of 23 times in their previous three games but only turned it over 14 times last night.
The Wizards broke 100 points for the first time this season, but Boston's point total was the most any team has posted against Washington, which had been holding teams to just 89.3 points a game. Bryant Stith posted his season high with 29 points, including 3-for-4 from behind the 3-point line. Power forward Antoine Walker tallied 26 points and was 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. Paul Pierce scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half and was 3-for-4 from 3-point range. And point guard Chris Herren, making his second start of the season in place of the injured Kenny Anderson, made all but one of his four 3s on the way to 13 points.
Boston also pounded out a 46-36 advantage on the boards. Walker accounted for 12 boards, and Pierce, a small forward, added eight.
Mitch Richmond led the Wizards with a season-high 28 points, including 20 in the first half. Rod Strickland bounced back after missing all five of his shots in the first half to finish with a season-high 26. Strickland was 10-for-11 from the free throw line.
Despite getting smoked in the first half, Washington pulled even on Strickland's 3-point play with 3:04 left in the third quarter.
But the Celtics' 11-1 run to end the quarter left the Wizards needing another rally for a chance to win.
"We had a good night, but we really couldn't stop anybody when we needed to," Richmond said. "We were right there. Then they got 10 quick points in like a minute, and that really broke our back."

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