THE Boston Celtics fended off a Washington Wizards rally from 20 points down to escape with a 110-102 victory at the TD Garden on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time).
The testy battle turned to Boston’s favor late in the second quarter when Jae Crowder sparked a 16-5 run and led by 11 at the half. A 16-7 start after the break pushed the Celtics lead to 20 and Boston still remained on top by 18 early in the fourth.
The Wizards got back in the game with a 12-4 run to cut the gap to nine, 100-91, with five minutes remaining. After Al Horford’s putback slam helped restore a 15-point edge to the Celtics, the Wizards again rallied to get within six, 106-100, with two minutes to play.
Marcus Smart then stepped up for the Celtics with a big basket and a swipe that led to two free throws as he put Boston back up by 10 and their defense held up to preserve the win.
Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley scored 25 and 20 points, respectively, and combined for six of Boston’s 10 triples to help the Celtics (45-26) even the season series with the Wizards (42-28). Crowder and Horford each had 16 markers and nine boards, while Smart finished with 10 points off the bench.
Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 19 points, while John Wall added 16 markers. Bojan Bogdanovic and Markieff Morris had 14 points apiece.