Celtics 88, Wizards 76
Down two guards, the Boston Celtics got a career-best from
reserve Avery Bradley.
Bradley scored 23 points, including 15 in the first quarter to
get the Boston off to a quick start, and the short-handed Celtics
held off the Washington Wizards 88-76 on Sunday.
With Ray Allen (ankle) and Mickael Pietrus (head injury) out of
the lineup, the Celtics may need more from Bradley as they try to
catch Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division.
”It’s all about confidence. Sometimes I would go into the game
thinking twice about shooting. Now, if I’m open, I’m open and I’ll
shoot it. I’ve been making them,” said Bradley, whose previous
high was 20 points. ”I was fortunate enough for my teammates to
find me in transition and give me the ball and I made shots.”
Paul Pierce added 21 points and eight rebounds, Rajon Rondo had
11 assists, and Kevin Garnett finished with 10 points and six
assists for the Celtics, who shot 22 for 34 (65 percent) in the
Bradley made his first seven attempts and missed just once in
”I could have scored those layups. I’m being serious,”
Washington coach Randy Wittman said. ”I mean, we didn’t have
anybody guarding him. When I was a player, if you gave me four
layups to start the game, I’d have a pretty good groove on to make
some jump shots. He ought to send us a postcard of `Thank you’ or
With the win and a loss by Philadelphia at San Antonio on
Sunday, the Celtics moved within a half-game of the division
Boston led by as much as 25 before cooling off in the second
half. The Celtics allowed Washington to get as close as eight, but
ended the threat quickly and won for the third time in four
The Celtics had played their last eight on the road, partly
because TD Garden hosted the NCAA Tournament East Regional over the
weekend. And after their first home game since March 9, the Celtics
immediately hit the road again for a game at Charlotte on Monday
”Usually that first game is a rough one. You don’t play on this
court for two weeks, it feels like an away game,” Pierce said.
”We got off to a great start. That was the key, especially when
you come off a big trip.”
Jordan Crawford scored 20 points, and Kevin Seraphin had 15
points and 11 rebounds for Washington. John Wall added 12 points
and nine assists, and Trevor Booker pulled down nine rebounds. The
Wizards played without recently acquired Nene, who had 21 points
and 11 rebounds Saturday in a loss at Atlanta.
Bradley’s previous high was 20, scored against New York last
April. He hadn’t scored more than 12 in a game this season and
passed that in the first quarter, making his first seven shots.
Bradley had 19 at halftime and reached his career high on a 21-foot
jumper to open the third quarter, putting the Celtics up 55-34.
”It was great to see him go in,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said.
”I thought there was a point it was clearly confidence because you
see him in practice and he makes them, then he gets in the game and
he just needed one to fall.”
The Wizards responded to Bradley’s jumper with a 13-0 run,
shutting out the Celtics for 5:17. Crawford converted a three-point
play with 7:56 left in the third to cut it to 55-43, Seraphin
scored on a putback for Washington’s 11th straight point and then
after Pierce turned it over at the top of the key, Crawford hit a
long jumper to cut the lead to 55-47.
The game of streaks continued as the Celtics scored the next 10
points. Garnett stopped the drought with a pair of free throws with
5:17 left, Pierce hit a 3-pointer and converted a three-point play,
and Bass added a jumper to put the Celtics back up 65-47.
The Celtics led 69-55 at the end of the third and didn’t let the
Wizards get closer than 10 in the final period.
Notes: Washington’s 34 points in the first half was just two
better than its season low. … Bradley scored 10 of the Celtics’
first 15 points … The Celtics led 27-12 after the first period.
… Greg Stiemsma added 10 points for the Celtics. … Both teams
had 15 turnovers.