It wasn’t pretty. It won’t inspire anyone to think the Celtics are back on the right track.
But it’s better that they won.
The Celtics, badly in need of a win after three consecutive losses, beat the Washington Wizards 99-88. Rajon Rondo led the way for the Celtics, scoring 17 points to go along with 12 assists. Kevin Garnett scored 19 points, and Ray Allen (17 points), Rasheed Wallace (14 points), Paul Pierce (12 points), and Tony Allen (10 points) all reached double figures for Boston.
Fourth quarters had been the bane of Boston’s existence in the past few games, but today’s final period was a saving grace for the Celts. Feeding Wallace in the post early and often, Boston rode the energetic play of reserves Wallace, Tony Allen and Glen Davis to the last-quarter turnaround. They entered the fourth down 78-74, but outscored the Wizards by 15 points over the last 12 minutes to earn the victory.
Despite the win, all is not right for the Celtics. Paul Pierce went down with an ankle injury early in the game, then was possibly re-injured later when his foot seemed to roll over Caron Butler’s. Tony Allen played the entire fourth quarter in Pierce’s absence. TA played very well over that time, on both ends of the floor, but if Pierce’s injury causes him to miss any extended time his presence will be sorely missed. (Duh.)
Boston had 11 turnovers in the first half, but only 5 after the break. Keeping better care of the ball was a big part of the improved second-half performance.
For Washington, Caron Butler was tough to stop, registering 20 points and 11 rebounds. Earl Boykins and Andray Blatche (despite pedestrian stats for the latter) both made a big difference off the bench.