Being down three big men didn’t stop the Celtics from making easy work of the Wizards.
Well, kinda easy.
Boston defeated Washington 116-107 on Friday night at TD Garden despite the absences of Tristan Thompson, Grant Williams and Robert Williams due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
Tacko Fall filled in nicely with a few signature blocks, including a monster stuff on Russell Westbrook.
Jayson Tatum (32), Jaylen Brown (27), Marcus Smart (13), Payton Pritchard (11) and Daniel Theis (10) each amassed double-digit points for Boston.
Bradley Beal paced everyone with 41 points, but it wasn’t enough for the Wizards, though they did make it quite interesting in the fourth quarter.
With the win, the Celtics improved to 7-3. The Wizards dropped to 2-7.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Semi Ojeleye
C: Daniel Theis
EARLY TACKO TIME
The war on Theis continued early in the first quarter when he was called for two fouls in the first 3:10.
But Fall checked into the game for his first-ever first-quarter minutes and delivered a big-time block on Westbrook, helping the C’s go on a little 6-0 run to open up a six-point lead.
A Wizards timeout didn’t seem to help them much, as Boston opened up a 25-15 lead, which included a 3-point shot from Pritchard.
Javonte Green added to Boston’s lead with a nice steal followed by a dunk.
The C’s led 33-28 after 12 minutes. Tatum and Beal each led the way with 14 points.
Fall contributed on both ends and went coast-to-coast for an alley-oop before making another block.
Boston opened up a 13-point lead with 7:20 left in the first half and continued to build on its momentum thanks to Wizards turnovers and points from Brown, including 13 in the second quarter with just under six minutes to go.
Being shorthanded didn’t seem to slow down the Celtics, as they soon built a 20-point lead thanks to a 15-5 run.
The C’s led 66-47 at halftime.
Tatum led Boston with 19 first-half points, while Brown had 18. Beal had 18 points for Washington.
What third-quarter troubles?
Sure, the Wizards had two wins coming into the game, but the Celtics were strong to open the second half despite Washington trying to cut into the deficit.
Of course, Marcus Smart’s defense was helpful in keeping the Wizards away from the basket. And he also flashed some sweet spin moves to get the C’s more points on the offensive end.
Washington cut Boston’s lead to 15 to end the third quarter thanks to an 8-0 run.
Beal paced all scorers with 36 points through three quarters, while Tatum amassed 26.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT
Washington made it interesting in the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to 10 with 9:57 to go.
It appeared the third-quarter struggles the Celtics typically face waited to come out in the fourth quarter, as their 28-point lead all of a sudden dropped to just four.
Boston called a timeout, and Kemba Walker essentially ran the huddle.
Another triple from Pritchard started a 7-0 run for Boston.
But Washington just wouldn’t go away, making it a five-point game with 2:35 to play.
A pass from Smart to Brown for a 3-pointer helped push the C’s lead to eight before sealing the victory.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Tacko did it all Friday.
The Celtics are back in action Sunday when they welcome the Miami Heat to TD Garden. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.