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NBA ICYMI: The Washington Wizards Eke Past the Maine Red Claws (Basically)

The Wizards needed double OT to down a depleted Celtics team. Plus, De’Aaron Fox plays Heat extinguisher again, the Bucks run into the Jonathon Simmons–D.J. Augustin buzz saw, and everything else you may have missed from Wednesday night’s action.

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

All the need-to-know info from Wednesday’s slate.

The Cheat Sheet

  • The Magic went back to college and pulled an all-nighter, arriving back in Orlando at 2:36 a.m. on Wednesday morning from a 10-day, 0-5 road trip. Wednesday night, they rocked Milwaukee, 126-117, without leading scorers Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier. The same Orlando team that had a collective 48-minute nosebleed against San Antonio the night before, losing 108-72, put up 36 points in the first quarter against Milwaukee. You good, Bucks?
  • Isaiah Thomas and Julius Randle added a little spice to this timeout:

The Lakers lost 117-106 to the Warriors, and the pick-and-roll duo appeared to make up.

  • The first time De’Aaron Fox faced Miami, the rookie had the game-winning dunk. In Sacramento’s 123-119 overtime win this go-round, Fox sent it to overtime.
  • Shouts also to Goran Dragic, who finished with 33 points.
  • Jonathon Simmons and D.J. Augustin were double agents against the tanking cause on Wednesday, combining for 67 points and 13 3-pointers. Simmons’s 35 points was a career high.
  • Milwaukee [takes elevator up, covers Giannis’s ears] is looking feeble. But not you, Giannis, after finishing with 38 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, and three steals. Never you.

The Takeaway

Washington, led by two max-contract players, beat the Celtics bench by one point in double overtime.

It’s not that simple for the Wizards: John Wall is still out, and the team was on the second night of a back-to-back. But with Boston missing Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, Daniel Theis, and, yes, Gordon Hayward, what the Eastern Conference matchup showed most was the contrast between benches.

Only two of the Celtics’ regular starters were active: Jayson Tatum and Aron Baynes. They were joined by Terry Rozier, Marcus Morris, and Guerschon Yabusele in Boston’s starting lineup; it was Rozier’s fourth career start and Yabu’s first. Basically:

How Brad Stevens filters his reserve lineups is already mystifying; seeing it click to hang on against Bradley Beal is something else completely. Morris (the .07-second younger one) stepped up for Boston with 31 points, taking on a load of 22 field goal attempts. Terry added 21, and three of the bench’s bench players also finished in double figures. That’s depth only one other Eastern Conference squad can claim, and that team is on a nine-game win streak.

The reputation for Washington’s second unit, meanwhile, only exists as a hypothetical. What bench? Kelly Oubre Jr. and Tomas Satoransky, when he transitions back, don’t make up an entire second unit. There is no rest for Beal, especially without Wall; in the 125-124 double overtime win, Brad played 47 minutes—after hustling for 34 against the Wolves the night before.

In Jodie Meeks’s defense, a bench player did sink the deep shot to send it to OT after Beal missed a game-tying 3 the play before:

Play of the Night

Turning 20 is apparently not enough to shake the “He’s only 19!” tic that thousands involuntarily suffer from every time Tatum does something remarkably athletic and beyond his years. Here’s to hoping that this continues on until he’s 32, and until then, watching this makes every “he’s only—” tweet worth it: