Guerschon Yabusele (The Dancing Bear) Gets His First Career Start
In honor of Guerschon Yabusele, AKA the Dancing Bear, getting his first career start, here is the live blog of the Boston Celtics game against the Washington Wizards on March 14, 2018… a date that… well, we probably we all forget soon once the Celtics get back to full health. ON TO THE GAME!
Start of Game
The Celtics have been reeling lately mostly because nobody can stay healthy. No Kyrie Irving, no Jaylen Brown, no Marcus Smart, no Daniel Theis, and no Al Horford. Sheeeeesh. The remedy? Guerschon Yabusele. A big, fluffy-looking French guy that Danny Ainge stashed overseas last year and brought to Boston (and Maine) this season. He is a very good rebounder and can knock down some threes if given the chance (and arrow-dab afterward). This is pretty much going to be a “throw stuff at the wall and hope it comes out pretty” game for Brad Stevens and the Celtics.
My goodness: the starting lineup is: Rozier, Tatum, Morris, Yabusele, and Baynes (ouch) going up against Tomas Satoransky, Beal, Porter, Morris (the other one) and Gortat. I cannot WAIT to watch Baynes and Gortat go at it for the next two hours.
First possession: turnover as Marcus Morris tries to feed Baynes inside. Morris makes up for it with a steal on the defensive end. Not awful… but not a good harbinger. Rozier misses on the next possession, and Rozier (as he has been most of this season) plays some bad defense and gets beat for the first bucket of the game. Tatum knocks down a jumper and we are all square at twos.
Celtics take their first lead of the game as Baynes go old-school lefty hook over Gortat for a bucket and then THE DANCING BEAR FORCES A TURNOVER AND I AM IN LOVE WITH YABUUUUU.
WE ARE NOT DONE! Baynes misses a jumper, the Dancing Bear rips down an offensive board, and good ball movement finds an open Morris in the corner for three and it is 7-2 good guys. Celtics come up with a stop on the defensive end and Tatum goes by Gortat exhibiting the matador defense and HAMMERS home a slam for the 9-2 lead. Even if they do not score the rest of the night, I am happy with this game.
The Celtics come out in a zone and that allows the Wizards to hit an easy jumper. But the Wizards do not play defense on the other end as Tatum comes up with a Stretch Armstrong like layup to push the lead back to seven. The Wizards look like fetid dog doo on defense. The Celtics get a stop and Morris backs down his man for an easy bucket, but the Wizards respond… and then leave Rozier open for the three. 16-6 with 7 minutes to go.
Make that 19-6 as the Wizards gamble for a steal, do not get it, and Marcus Morris can walk into a three–>buries it. That possession was set up by a Gortat miss on a put-back from point-blank range. It is not a surprise why the Celtics are dominating right now. They are doing everything right well the Wizards are doing everything wrong, but hey, I am not complaining.
Yabu picks up another rebound out of the timeout and then drives the lane and draws the foul. I do not have the slightest idea what is going on right now, but I do not care. I might need a drink soon if it continues this way to calm down (oh, and the Dancing Bear goes 2-for-2 from the line for a 21-6 lead with 6 to go in the first). And Yabu plays good defense on Oubre for the miss, but Rozier gives away the possession with a stupid pass.
Bradley Beal makes it hurt when he gets a phantom foul and-1 on a Baynes foul (but misses the freebie). Yabu comes out and Semi Ojeleye goes in. I am also looking forward to the Semi Trailer getting a good handful of minutes and some extra confidence. Abdul Nader is also into the game. Wizards get buckets on back-to-back possessions for the first time on the night, but the Celtics respond with a Baynes tip-in after a Morris miss. Celtics buckle down defensively, but turn it over after the rebound. Rebounding great so far tonight, ball security not so much (jinxed it; good defense forces a miss, but Wizards grab the offensive board for two, Celtics turn it over on the offensive end, and Wizards hit a transition corner three to cut the deficit to nine at 24-15 with 3:49 left).
Buuuuut the Celtics turn it over again. This is some pathetic ball security from the Celtics. Rozier cuts to the lane, throws up a prayer that misses, but Greg Monroe cleans up the trash. Celtics get a stop of the defensive end, Morris misses a three, but Semi hauls in the offensive rebound and finds Nader in the corner for the put-back three. Yabu and Semi doing work on the offensive end? Definitely getting that drink at the end of the quarter.
Shane Larkin gets into the mix with a steal and nobody decides to stop him on the offensive end so the Celts go back up by 12 at 33-21. Celtics actually try to set up Ojeleye on the wing in an isolation, but gets blocked from behind after a very good move. Abdul Nader gets an offensive rebound and takes a wild layup with purpose as he draws two defenders and Monroe is alone under the hoop for the offensive rebound. Wizards get a bucket back on a layup, but with the clock reading 4.9 seconds, it gives Larkin enough time to squirrel his way through the defense and rockabye a layup with 0.1 seconds left on the clock. As Mike Gorman rightfully points out; “the Celtics take five guys that have never played together and score 37 points in the first quarter.” Yup. Drink time.
Start of Second Quarter, Celtics Leading 37-23
Wizards get a quick bucket, and Celtics respond with a quicker turnover. That is not a recipe for success with a squad of guys that have never played together… and they turn it over on the next possession. Celtics play great transition defense and Shane Larkin knocks down a wing three. Somehow the Celtics are up 40-25 through all of this awful offense. Celtics get it down low to Monroe on the block, Nader cuts to the paint, Monroe (a great passer) feeds Nader on time and on the money, which allows Nader to drop home a lefty finger roll… it is 42-25. I am drinking grey goose vodka with a little bit of lemon propel and it is going down smooth.
Kelly Oubre gets bailed out as Nader comes up with a big-time rejection, but gets sent to the line for two, and he promptly knocks them down. OH MY GOODNESS!!! Tatum spins baseline and throws down a MONSTER two-hand jam. The young man is an absolute stud. Wizards get a two… and nobody picks up Semi in the corner and HE knocks down a triple. It is 47-29 with 8:30 to go. The Celtics are a juggernaut. They have not let me touch my drink.
Celtics get a stop, Larkin runs a perfect pick-and-roll with Monroe after an offensive rebound by Monroe, and Monroe uses the glass for two. Celtics up by 20 (49-29). After a defensive lapse allows a Wizards layup in transition, the Wizards show off their team allergies to defense as Tatum gets to the rim for another layup. Wizards come back with a three, Celtics turn it over, Wizards do the same. This is an ugly game for ball security purposes. Semi goes for the transition jam, but gets fouled and he goes to the line for a couple (and hits both–53-34 Celtics).
Celtics are really trying to get Ojeleye going on isos at the block. Instead, the ball goes to Monroe who knocks down a 14-footer. Everyone is going well. Yabusele on the next offensive possession does his best Jared Sullinger and uses the caboose to draw a foul at the block. Rozier though misses the jumper on the possession and Oubre hits a wing three on the other end, but Nader draws a foul on an old-school boxout (NBA players still do that I guess). Celtics will be in the bonus on the next foul, up 55-39 with 4:30 left, but Baynes gets called for an offensive foul so another turnover goes up on the board and the Wizards get two more from Beal, 55-41. Remember the bonus thing? Celtics get it on the next possession, but Marcus Morris only hits one-of-two from the line.
The Celtics have turned it over 10 times in the first half, but are up 58-42 with 2:50 to go. This game is going much MUCH better than I possibly could have imagined. Oh, Jayson Tatum is a +22 by the way. Aron Baynes gets fouled and hits half the allotted so Celtics now up 59-42 with 2:30 to go before half. All the Celtics that have been in the game have an assist with the exception of Morris. Wizards get two at the line, Celtics come up empty, the other Morris gets a bucket and the score is 59-46 with 1:30 to go. The Celtics are in danger of letting the Wizards close out the half down by ten, in a half where the Celtics were up by 20.
Beal gets to the line for two, drawing the foul against Morris. He only gets one. Pivotal 1:20 coming up with the Celtics up by 12 and in possession. Awful iso offense from Morris, jumper no good, Markief bodies Marcus in the block and it is a 10 point game. Gulp. Baynes misses a 10-footer. Pathetic end to the half from the Celtics. Could have waited, as it gets worse. Markief hits a deep three, Rozier (a nonfactor in the half) misses a layup as time expires. Celtics head into the locker rooms up 59-52. Sounds good, but Wizards end the half on a 10-to-nothing run. Not sure if Celtics can replicate this performance in the second half. I would not bet on it, but I also would not have bet on the Celtics being up by 20 at one point in the first half either.
Start of the Third Quarter, Celtics Leading 59-52
At least the half starts on a good note as the Celtics get a stop, but then Terry Rozier continues to suck and throws the ball off of the backboard and Bradley Beal hits a layup in transition. Great ball movement from the Celtics (started by getting the ball inside to Baynes) results in a Morris three for an eight point lead, but Rozier decides to not rebound, the Wizards get the offensive board, and Beal hits a jumper for a six point game.
Celtics with a side-out and Morris’ J bails out the Celtics and pumps the lead back up to eight. Rozier goes coast to coast and gets the foul and the bucket, but misses the free throw (he is really not having a good night). Wizards turn it over as the Celtics get an easy two, but they come back with a Porter three from the top of the key and Tatum turns it over on the next possession. Somehow the Celtics only have 11 turnovers despite having 10 in the first half and already committing three here in the second half.
Beal goes one-on-one with the dancing bear after a Tatum layup and knocks down the jumper despite very good defense. That may have gotten the dancing bear going as he drives from the top of the key, euro-steps, and drops home a finger roll. Problem is though the two teams continue to trade buckets as Bradley Beal is riding a hot hand and the lead is only five (72-67) with a timeout on the floor.
Celtics come out of the timeout and get it to Yabu in the block. Just a little wrinkle, but one Brad has been using since the all-star break, just get the ball down low and let the offense flow from there (it actually ends up with a Yabu missed three from the top of the key, but it was a good shot). Rozier has a brain fart in transition defense and leaves Beal open from the corner. Beal promptly knocks it down. two point game.
After a pair of Baynes free throws, Rozier intercepts a lob to the top of the key and skies for an outrageous slam the other way, 76-70. Wizards get two the other end on a late (but correct) shooting foul call. Baynes then gets called for getting run over while setting a perfect screen and these refs have now entered the “NBA fans tune in to see us blow our whistles and suck at our jobs” portion of the night. Porter hits a three, the Celtics lead 76-75. Rozier misses a wide-open three, gambles for a steal, does not get it, Celtics cannot pick up defensively, the Wizards hit a floater and now I am putting the drink away because this is not going to end well.
Wizards on a 9-0 run as Beal continues his NBA Jam approach to basketball (everything is going in). Morris and Rozier are trying to take over the game and it is not working. Thankfully Larkin and Monroe work their two-man game and the paint opens up like the red sea for a Monroe dunk. 79-78 Wizards. The Wizards win a loose ball scramble (playing like the hungrier team right now) and get a transition layup for the 81-78 lead. Thankfully Monroe is playing out of his gourd and gets a goaltending call to bring the deficit back to one after a beautiful left-handed drive. Rozier clanks a three at the buzzer so the score stays in favor of the Wizards as the clock expires on the third.
Start of the Fourth Quarter, Wizards Leading 81-80
Celtics start the fourth with a turnover cause of course they do. But the Celtics play great defense and whip about five different passes around the perimeter and Rozier (here we go baby) steps into a three and knocks it down for the two-point lead. Larkin then snakes a steal and converts the layup on the other end. Just like that it is 85-81. Defense makes the offense for this Celtics team.
Bad defense by the Celtics lets the Wizards get an easy bucket, but Larkin drives the lane on the other end, misses, and Monroe says thank you, reels in the offensive board and lays in the putback. Wizards grab a board and putback on the other end and it is 87-85. Celtics come up with a stop and have possession with about nine to go, but Tatum bricks a jumper (he might be trying to do too much). However, Rozier (playing MUCH better in the fourth) forces a turnover.
ATO Brad coming up as the Celtics have the ball with 1.7 left on the shot clock and Brad calls a timeout.
YOU HAVE TO LOVE BRAD! Nader gets open from five feet outside the top of the arc and splashes home the three, 90-85. Nader does commit a foul on the other end, but Meeks only gets one to fall so 90-86 with 7:49 to go.
Morris gets to his money spot at the free throw line and drills a mid-range, but the Celtics do not play defense and we are back to 92-88. Nader misses a three and Meeks hits a baseline floater… and maybe I need more of that drink now. 92-90 with 6:30 to go, but Beal commits a stupid foul at the top of the key to save what was looking like an abysmal Celtics offensive possession. The Celtics take advantage as Rozier finds Tatum in the corner, he up-fakes a three, gets a drive-by from the defender and wets a mid-range. However, the Celtics are paying absolutey no attention to the roll man on the pick-and-rolls and it is letting the Wizards dominate offensively. Celtics foul and the Wizards get two at the line. Nader misses a three and can tie or take the lead.
Nope. Oubre airballs a three with the shot clock winding down and Rozier makes it hurt with a jumper on the other end, 96-92. Nader has committed five fouls, but has played pretty decently.
Morris gets to the line for a pair and knocks them both down with 3:52 to go. 98-92… Celtics have been in tight games the last week and have failed, do they have it in them to pull out the victory tonight?
Celtics play great defense, but Wizards want the ball more and after Beal rattles out his first three, they get the board, find Beal again, and this time he obliges with the bucket to make it a one-possession game 98-95. However, Morris somehow buries a falling down step back jumper with a foot inside the three-point for a five-point advantage (100-95). Wizards get it back on the other end with Satoranksy working in the paint and Rozier misses a layup so Wizards get the ball.
An official review on the floor after a Beal miss three. Crowd does not like the call as the review goes the Wizards, but it is the right call. Beal gets away with a travel on the baseline, finds Satoransky at the top of the key for a wide open three, but he misses it. Tatum misses a turnover, Beal hits a layup, and Brad calls a timeout with the game 100-99 and 50.8 showing on the clock.
Only four Celtics are a plus in this game (Tatum:+16, Monroe:+10, Larkin:+5… and the Dancing Bear:+5).
Add a three to everyone except for the dancing bear. Celtics get the ball to Tatum in the corner, he turns the corner with the help of a Monroe screen, slashes to the paint, jumps, and finds Morris in the opposite corner and he splashes it home. MASSIVE shot and the Celtics lead 103-99.
Celtics let Beal drive to the line to make it a one-possession game (103-101), they quickly get the ball in to Larkin who beats the trap in the corner, gets the ball to Tatum, who gets fouled, but splits the pair at the line (104-101). Ojeleye runs Beal off of the line and makes him take a layup while Rozier… ummm… goes full stupid and dribbles backwards in his own backcourt through four people instead of getting the ball upcourt. Beal knocks it out of bounds from behind. We have an official review, but it should be Celtics ball.
There is also the issue of the eight-second violation. With Rozier going backwards, the Celtics have all of one second to get the ball over half court. Cetics call a timeout so the point is moot. Get it moved up the court. Shane Larkin gets open, gets the ball, gets fouled. And swishes the first (105-103), and rattles home the second (106-103) with 12.5 to go.
Beal misses a three (although it was halfway down) and ball is out of bounds last touched by the Celitcs. This is also under review, but this time it should be reversed to Celtics ball (looked like it touched Satoransky last).
Or not… despite the replay clearly showing the ball was touched last by the Wizards, the ball stays with the Wizards. And it bites the Celtics in the kiester. Wizards hit a three from the corner and we head to overtime at 106.
Start of Overtime Tied at 106
Celtics get the tip and Morris hits the side of the backboard, but Porter misses a jumper on his end and Tatum comes up way short on a turnaround, comes up with a steal of his own and gets smothered on an ill-advised take against Gortat and Porter hits a three in the corner for the Wizards biggest lead in quite some time. Thankfully Marcus Morris hits a jumper and the Celtics are down 109-108 with three minutes to go.
Yabusele picks up a phantom foul as Markief Morris loses the ball going up and the referees in this game are rrrrrrreally making it hard not to hope their animals have to ride on United. Morris hits both and it is a three point game (111-108).
Rozier slows down the offense and takes a three from the top of the key for reasons I cannot quite fathom. Washington calls a timeout with 2:24 left on the clock and eight seconds left on the shot clock up by three.
Thankfully the Wizards come up empy as Larkin gets the rebound. Morris gets the ball on the right wing and uses a hesitation move to get to the paint, draws contact from Gortat, hits the layup, gets the foul… and misses the layup. On the other end Baynes gets called for… well… I am not sure. They are saying a blocking foul, but if he is outside of the restricted area, they can review that in overtime so this might get reviewed (we get an overhead shot, he is absolutely in the restricted area). Satoransky is perfect from the line (damn him). 113-110.
Oooooo Terry Rozier sheds his man like a bad fleece and hits a step back three for the tie. Morris misses a wide open jumper, other Morris (the good one) gets the rebound, but Celtics come up empty on their end. Beal misses a jumper after good Baynes defense and the Celtics should get the last shot if they play this right (they do, but Rozier misses the layup by MILES). Tatum plays pretty decent defense on Porter, but Porter gets the foul call and he goes to the line with 19.6 seconds to go. The Celtics have two timeouts in their pockets and will use the first after Porter makes both for the 115-113 lead.
ATO Brad Alert! (Why not just run the same play as before?)
Instead the Wizards (Gortat) foul Tatum. Their first in the last two minutes, so it is side out with 16.6 to go, down by two. Tatum throws the ball away cause of course he does. A night full of turnovers will end more than likely with a bad turnover.
NOPE! The Celtics play great defense and the Wizards turn the ball over on the inbounds pass. This game is SO stupid.
Nobody has any timeouts left. Get it into Larkin’s hands please and let him do his thing.
Instead it barely gets in to Rozer, he barely gets the pass to Tatum, Tatum spins to the paint and Gortat gets called for the blocking foul as Tatum hits the right-handed layup. Somehow Tatum is at the line for the lead… and he misses the free throw. I hate this game.
This is now officically the dumbest and worst basketball game I have ever witnessed… and I decided to liveblog it.
Start of the Second Overtime: Tied at 115
Wizards win the tip and Wizards Morris misses an open jumper, but Tatum has to swat it out of bounds and the Wizards get possession again. Beal beats Rozier one-on-one and will get to the free throw line. But his legs are tired and he comes up about a foot short on the first freebie and is now 1-for-4 at the line, before hitting the second. 116-115. Washington the lead, Boston the ball.
Tatum is not much bothered by the missed free throw. Beats his man off of the ball for the lead, but Porter is left open on the left wing and he drills the three and the Wizards take a 119-117 advantage and the Celtics turn it over. Wizards miss a three, but Gortat gets the board, and (Bad) Morris gets fouled by (Good) Morris, and (Bad) Morris gets to the line and he misses them both. Some tired legs out on the court right now.
Good Morris bricks a pull up three (ugh). Bad Morris responds with a three at the top of the key and it is now the largest lead of the game for the Wizards and Tatum throws the ball away. This is not looking good.
But the Celtics force a 24-second violation so there is still hope, but they need a bucket. It comes in the form of an Abdul Nader layup… and that gets erased as Beal gets fouled and converts the layup plus foul Celtics down 125-119 with 1:25 to go.
Marcus Morris with a drop down pass to Greg Monroe who hits the easy two. Deficit is four with a minute to go. Beal gets blocked by Monroe, Tatum pushes the ball up the court and Rozier hits the corner transition three and it is A ONE-POINT GAME AND THIS AFFAIR WILL NEVER DIE!
Beal comes up short on a step back jumper with Baynes in his face. Two seconds separates the game clock and the shot clock. Tatum takes a super stupid step back three on an awful offensive possession. The good thing is Tatum wanted to take the shot because nobody else apparently wanted to take it, the bad thing is, Tatum wanted to take that shot. Celtics should have won that game five different times. I am done, I am not dancing, the Dancing Bear is not dancing. I am going to bed.