BOSTON — Andray Blatche had 31
points and 11 rebounds on Friday night as the Washington Wizards opened
a 28-point first-half lead and held off a late flurry of 3-pointers
from Nate Robinson to beat the Boston Celtics 106-96.
Backup JaVale McGee had 14 points
with 11 rebounds for the Wizards, who have won four of six since
snapping a 16-game losing streak.
Rajon Rondo had 17 points and 12
assists for playoff-bound Boston, which lost for the fifth time in
seven games and was once again booed by the home crowd. The Celtics
have lost four out of five at home — the only win in Boston in the last
two weeks was Sunday's overtime victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Boston cut the deficit to six points
in the final minute when Robinson hit three 3-pointers in a span of 18
seconds and added a layup that made it 99-93 with 42 seconds left. But
he missed the next three 3-point tries — a couple of them off-balance
and rushed — and the Celtics never got any closer.
The Celtics, who were 23-5 after
beating Orlando on Christmas Day, are 26-25 since then. They dropped
behind Atlanta in the race for the third spot in the Eastern Conference
playoff race; the No. 4 team, if it wins its first-round series, would
likely have to play LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the second round.
The Celtics trailed just 20-17 late
in the first before giving up the last 10 points of the quarter,
including Nick Young's long 3-pointer at the buzzer that went off the
backboard, knocked around the rim a little and fell in to make it
30-17. The Wizards scored the first eight points of the second quarter
and, after a single Boston basket, extended the lead to 47-19 with five
minutes left in the half.
The Celtics didn't make a serious
charge until coach Doc Rivers cleared his bench for the final minutes
and Robinson started firing up 3s. He hit three in a row, and when the
Wizards finally came out to challenge him he drove to the basket for a
layup that cut it to six points.
But the Wizards hit their free throws, and Robinson stopped hitting the 3s to squelch the belated rally.
Washington long ago fell out of
playoff contention, its season disintegrating when star Glibert Arenas
was suspended for bringing guns into the locker room.
Arenas pleaded guilty to a felony gun charge in January, and has been suspended until the end of the season by the NBA.
At about the same time as the
opening tip, Arenas reported to the Montgomery County jail to begin
serving his sentence. He must spend two days there for medical
screening and classification before being transferred to a halfway
A Wizards spokesman said the team would not comment.
Celtics G Rajon Rondo was
given the team's Red Auerbach Award before the game for a player who
exemplifies what it means to be a true Celtic. … The Wizards signed
G-F Cartier Martin for the rest of the season. Martin originally signed
a 10-day contract with the Wizards on March 30. …. Boston waived
Marcus Landry, who was acquired along with Robinson from the New York
Knicks in February.