Jaylen Brown, Celtics demolish Wizards to remain undefeated: 9 takeaways


The Wizards are not going to have a fun season.

Celtics Wizards
Jaylen Brown and the Celtics demolished the Wizards on Monday and improved to 3-0. Greg Fiume/Getty Images


The Celtics blew out the Wizards 126-107 on Monday, resting their starters for the entire fourth quarter as they improved to 3-0.

Here are the takeaways.

1. After the Celtics beat the Knicks and Heat, we opened by discussing how good the Celtics are, which felt appropriate — they beat other good Eastern Conference opponents and showed some of the many ways they can win on any given night.

After Monday’s game, we need to start with the Wizards, who are abysmal and looked like one of the second-unit preseason opponents the Celtics faced earlier this month. It was immediately clear watching a tiny Wizards starting lineup with no plus defenders (and multiple minus ones) that the Celtics were going to be able to get whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. Jaylen Brown drove to the basket and scored a layup. Jayson Tatum drove to the basket and scored a layup. Kristaps Porzingis cut to the basket and scored a layup. Porzingis got to the rim again and scored a reverse. Jrue Holiday buried a casual mid-range jumper. That all happened on possessions two through six of the game. Just over six minutes into the game, the Celtics already led 24-9.

The Celtics are a really good basketball team — maybe an elite one — but Monday’s game did very little to measure just how good they will be. The Wizards are going to artificially inflate offensive ratings all year.

2. With the disclaimer regarding the hapless Wizards out of the way, we can move on to Brown, who seemed to enjoy his evening of target practice immensely. Brown made eight of his 13 3-point attempts and finished with 36 points in 31 minutes. He took full advantage of the Wizards’ inability to guard drivers early, which seemed to get him going from 3-point range.

Brown’s career high in made 3-pointers is 10, which he achieved in 2020-21 against the Magic, but he equaled his second-highest total, which came in a 46-point outburst against the Knicks during the 2021-22 season.

3. Tatum scored an exceedingly casual 33 points in 27 minutes. Like Brown, he took advantage of the Wizards’ inability to guard drivers, and he also punished a much-smaller Wizards team in the post. At one point in the second half, Tatum found himself matched up against Tyus Jones, who is generously listed at 6-foot-1 (Tatum whirled and knocked down a jumper over Jones). The Wizards simply don’t have any players who approach Tatum’s caliber.

4. The Wizards’ starting lineup included Kyle Kuzma and Deni Avdija at power forward and center, which automatically ceded six inches of height and plenty of length to Porzingis, and he scored with ease around the rim. Porzingis’ return to his previous place of employment was met with a smattering of applause (many of those cheering may have been Celtics fans anyway, given how many Celtics generally infiltrate Capital One Arena) and almost no resistance whenever he got the ball in the paint.

Porzingis finished with 15 points on 7-for-9 shooting in just under 24 minutes.

5. Not to keep beating a broken drum, but Jrue Holiday against Jordan Poole was pretty unfair to the new Wizards’ signee as well. Poole spent years with the Warriors feasting off defenses who were already stretched thin trying to contain Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Now defenders like Holiday can comfortably key in on him, and the results weren’t pretty. Poole was flustered all evening, finishing with 11 points on 11 shots and three turnovers, and Holiday was much too big and strong for him to deal with on the other end.

6. In the third quarter, a frustrated Poole briefly faced off with Porzingis before teammates separated the two. There wasn’t much pushing or jawing, just a brief cold war in which both players declined to move away from each other after a whistle.

“Jordan Poole’s not going to fight. We all saw what happened,” Brian Scalabrine quipped on the NBC Sports Boston broadcast, referencing the punch thrown by Draymond Green during last year’s training camp that may have chased Poole out of Golden State.

7. At this stage, it seems safe to say Sam Hauser might be the kind of sharp-shooter who makes 40 percent of his threes because he shoots 60 percent for a few weeks followed by 20 percent for a few more. Right now, Hauser appears to be mired in one of his 20-percent stretches, but he did knock down two late in the fourth quarter after starting the game 0-for-6. He finished 2-for-9.

During Hauser’s hot stretches this year, the Celtics are going to be borderline unstoppable. Relying on those hot stretches, however, seems unwise.

8. It didn’t matter much (and most people probably stopped watching anyway), but the second unit gave up a 29-9 run spanning the third and fourth quarters that allowed the Wizards to trim what was once a 37-point lead down to 15 late in the fourth.

The game was never in question, but the Celtics really need their second unit to be better. A tougher opponent might have forced Joe Mazzulla to consider parachuting a couple of starters back into the game, which is the ultimate mark of a job poorly done by a bench unit.

Payton Pritchard can’t turn the ball over four times and shoot 0-for-8 from the field (even if he does grab seven rebounds and dish out six assists). Oshae Brissett and Dalano Banton need to be a little better than 1-for-7 from the field. The Celtics are going to be a top-heavy team all year, but the second unit has to carry its weight to balance the roster a little bit if for no other reason than to let the starters rest comfortably at the end of a blowout.

9. The Celtics have four games remaining before they start group play for their in-season tournament against the Nets on Nov. 10.

Next up: The Celtics head home to take on the Pacers at 7 p.m.