Rajon Rondo the Catalyst as Celtics Knock Off Pesky Wizards

Rajon Rondo the Catalyst as Celtics Knock Off Pesky Wizards The knock of late on the Celtics has been their inability to finish off opponents. Try telling that to the Washington Wizards.

Six Boston players scored in double figures and the club dominated the fourth quarter en route to a 99-88 win over the Wizards in the Verizon Center on Monday night, snapping a three-game losing streak for the C's.

Kevin Garnett scored 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting and Rajon Rondo added 17 points and 12 assists for the Celtics, who trailed most of the game before taking charge down the stretch. All this without Paul Pierce, who suffered a left foot injury in the first half and sat out the last 15 minutes.

Ray Allen buried a 3-pointer with 8:48 left in the game to give Boston its first lead in over two quarters, 82-81. Tony Allen's two free throws moments later put the C's ahead to stay and the rest of the quarter turned into a defensive tutorial.

Washington shot an unsightly 2-of-18 from the floor in the fourth and had nothing but two free throws to show for the last 3:41.

Caron Butler scored 20 to lead all scorers but Antawn Jamison struggled to a 2-of-17, eight-point performance for the lowly Wizards.

Celtics 99, Wizards 88
Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
Feb. 1, 2010

Live Blog | Box Score | Recap

Headliner: He was the best player on the court during much of the Celtics' loss to Los Angeles on Sunday, and Rajon Rondo was the catalyst again in D.C.

While Garnett had his best game since returning from a right knee injury, he was given the bulk of his looks on penetration and dishes by Rondo, who reached the 12-assist mark for the second straight game.

Five of Garnett's baskets came via Rondo assists. The little man also led Boston with two steals and helped limit Wizards point guard Randy Foye to two points in 18 minutes.

Unsung Hero: No Paul Pierce? No problem, at least when Tony Allen plays like he did against the Wizards.

Allen, who was also a standout performer in Sunday's loss to Los Angeles, filled Pierce's shoes down the stretch when Doc Rivers chose to keep his All-Star forward on the bench with the foot injury.

Allen finished with 10 points and six rebounds. It was his two free throws late in the third which started a game-ending 29-10 run, his dunk which opened the scoring in the fourth, his block of Earl Boykins midway through the final quarter to secure a two-point lead and his steal and layup with 2:28 to go that made it 91-86.

Scrub:
Washington does't have much to hang its hat onto, but Jamison has been its best performer in an otherwise dismal season. Not tonight. Jamison couldn't buy a hoop.

Amid his 2-of-17 stinker was a stretch without a basket from the 6:52 mark of the second quarter until the final horn.

Turning Point: Butler scored 12 points for the Wizards in the third quarter, including a fadeaway 21-footer from the corner with Brian Scalabrine draped all over him. The shot put Washington up eight with less than a minute left in the quarter and had the Verizon Center crowd on its feet.

Perhaps Scalabrine's effort served as a catalyst, for the Celtics defense decided to take charge at that juncture. The Wizards' next basket would come four minutes later, and the one after that with just 3:42 left.

Up Next: Following a brutal stretch of four games in five days which saw Boston go 1-3, the club gets a night off before hosting Miami on Wednesday. It is the first of three straight games at home, after which comes a trip to New Orleans and then the much-needed All-Star break.

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