It was the condescending type of trash talk the Washington Wizards should have expected in the course of being dismantled, 112-101, tonight by the Boston Celtics before 16,082 at FleetCenter.
With the Celtics holding a 22-point third-quarter lead--three points fewer than their biggest margin just moments earlier--former Wizards forward Calbert Cheaney took a pass on the left wing. His teammates screamed, "Get some too, Cal!" Cheaney missed the shot to the dismay of his teammates, who wanted Cheaney to take part in the feast.
From Antoine Walker's shoulder shimmy after a third-quarter three-pointer, to center Vitaly Potapenko's domination in the middle to forward Adrian Griffin's omnipresence around the ball, the Wizards were thoroughly overmatched in a game that was far more lopsided than the score.
The Celtics' dismissing of Washington here is becoming a habit. Boston (2-0) entered the game winning the last two home games against the Wizards by an average of 24 points and it extended its home winning streak over Washington (1-1) to six games.
"That was a reality check tonight," Wizards Coach Gar Heard said immediately after addressing his team. "They outplayed us, they outhustled us. We just didn't have the energy tonight that I thought we would have. In the first and third quarters, they really killed us, especially in the third.
"We got back into the game at halftime. I thought we'd come out ready to play in the third quarter, and they came out and put us away."
After scrapping back to pull within six at halftime, the Wizards imploded in the third quarter. They could not shoot, they did not rebound and they did not play with the urgency needed to overcome the hungry Celtics.
Instead of forcing the action on offense, they settled for jump shots. They did not get to the free throw line in the third period.
In the recent past, Boston has taken Washington out with its nonstop press. The Celtics only broke out their full-court trapping defense on a handful of occasions, opting instead to let the Wizards self-destruct.
The Celtics opened the second half with a 16-2 surge to go up 69-49 after a layup by Walker. Heard tried a variety of players and lineups but nothing worked.
Washington was foiled by its failure to prevent offensive rebounds and its inability to defend inside. The Celtics scored 22 points on second-shot opportunities. Even more overwhelming: Boston scored 50 points inside compared with Washington's 22. Other than the second shots, most of the Celtics' baskets came in transition when the Wizards simply did not get back on defense.
"We allowed too many easy layups," said forward Juwan Howard, who had 12 points and five rebounds. "If we're going to win ballgames then we're going to have to play defense. We need to understand defense is a top priority."
Said Griffin, who had nine points, eight rebounds and five assists: "Our style is difficult to defend and other teams may not be in as good as shape as us, so we can get an early lead and the other team has to play catch up in the third and fourth."
Heard was not pleased that his starters, for the second straight game, failed to give the intensity or production needed to win. Other than Mitch Richmond (20 points) and Howard, no other starter scored in double figures, although center Ike Austin grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
Point guard Rod Strickland, who suffered a mild left ankle sprain, scored nine points and had five assists.
Washington's reserves, who rescued the team in a season-opening victory over Atlanta, put up solid numbers but most came when the game was decided. Backup point guard Chris Whitney had 15 points.
"We have to nip this in the bud early," Richmond said. "We just didn't have the energy. It's early but we don't want to get behind the eight ball."
Washington got into trouble late in the first quarter when its backups allowed Boston to close with an 8-0 run that gave the Celtics a 28-21 lead. The Wizards' poor rebounding and carelessness with the ball were their biggest problems in the first half. Boston scored 13 points on second-shot opportunities and converted nine Wizards turnovers into 10 points. Conversely, the Wizards did not register an offensive rebound in the second quarter.
"Going into the season there were two areas that concerned me; second shots and defense," Heard said. "Tonight we gave up too many easy baskets and the defense and rebounding needs a lot of work."
Wizards Note: Heard got called for his first technical of the season with 11 minutes 8 seconds remaining in the first half for arguing a non-call.