The C's will stay knotted in second with the Heat, however, as Miami came away with a 112-103 victory over Charlotte on Friday night.
Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett all posted double-doubles on the night for the Celtics, with Pierce leading the way with 20 points.
The C's are no longer in contention for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, as the Bulls clinched the top rank with a win over Cleveland on Friday night. The Celtics will now battle it out with the Heat for the No. 2 spot. They meet up in Miami on Sunday afternoon where the Celtics will try to sweep the season series and once again take the lead in second place.
Fourth Quarter, 2:00, Celtics 98-85: Krstic gets hit pretty hard under the net as he tried to go up for his standard standing dunk, and he sinks his free throw to keep the C's on their path toward a win.
Fourth Quarter, 3:00, Celtics 93-85:
Fourth Quarter, 3:00, Celtics 93-85:That's more like it — Rondo drives to the net and finds Pierce on the opposite side for the lay-in. Now we can hear the crowd again.
Fourth Quarter, 4:18, Celtics 91-83: The Celtics are lucky the Wizards have committed umpteen traveling violations, because that has stunted their momentum here in the fourth.
The crowd at the Garden seems to be asleep right now — the C's need to pick them back up with some more of what we saw in the first.
The Heat are currently leading the Bobcats 99-92 with 3:44 left in the game.
Fourth Quarter, 6:48, Celtics 89-83: Fourth Quarter, 9:16, Celtics 85-79:
Fourth Quarter, 6:48, Celtics 89-83:Rondo comes through with a much-needed drive toward the hoop to boost the Celtics' lead to six. Where has the first-half momentum gone?
Fourth Quarter, 9:16, Celtics 85-79:The Celtics don't necessarily need this game to be fast-paced at this point, but they do need to sustain their lead and not lose their momentum here in the fourth.
The offense has quieted some, but the C's still have the six-point lead. The Wizards' offense has been fairly quiet all night, a good thing for the C's right now.
Third Quarter, 1:37, Celtics 81-72: The pace has slowed in this one a bit, but this is where the Celtics have let games slip away in the past, and they don't want to do that against the lowly Wizards.
Over the past month, the C's have consistently let things go in the fourth quarter, so they'll want to set the tone for the final stanza now, so they can carry their momentum through for the win.
Third Quarter, 3:50, Celtics 79-68: Third Quarter, 5:44, Celtics 75-68: Third Quarter, 7:43, Celtics 71-64:
Third Quarter, 3:50, Celtics 79-68:In case you were wondering, the Heat currently lead the Bobcats 78-65 in the third quarter.
Third Quarter, 5:44, Celtics 75-68:Nenad Krstic heads to the bench with his fourth foul of the night — though the blocking call was questionable. Big Baby comes in as the sub.
Third Quarter, 7:43, Celtics 71-64:Rajon Rondo makes things look easy as he dishes out his 10th assist of the night on a pretty alley-oop pass to Kevin Garnett.
After sinking two free throws, Rondo now has a double-double on the night.
Third Quarter, 10:29, Celtics 66-56: The C's are proving that the halftime break didn't affect their run game, as they pick up right where they left off in the first half.
Rondo once again leads the fast-break attack down the floor, and KG finishes with an easy layup. Garnett gets the and-one on the play, as his defender tried to pull him down on the breakaway.
Halftime, Celtics 59-56:
Halftime, Celtics 59-56:Well, the Celtics definitely have the offensive edge over the Wizards at the half, but they could do something about their defense in the second.
It doesn't feel like a three-point game, but that's because the C's let their defense slide in the second quarter. If the pick things back up on that end, this game is in the bag — no problem
Second Quarter, 1:15, Celtics 57-52: Second Quarter, 1:50, Celtics 55-50: Second Quarter, 2:00, Celtics 55-48:
Second Quarter, 1:15, Celtics 57-52:Take THAT JaVale McGee. The Wizards forward may have been in the dunk contest this year, but KG just one-upped him with that resounding slam. C's have a small lead, but they definitely have the edge in this one.
Second Quarter, 1:50, Celtics 55-50:Nenad Krstic is mastering the standing dunk tonight. I honestly think that's where all his points have come from — and that's how it should be. The 7-footer is just cleaning up under the hoop tonight, and keeps the C's ahead by five.
Second Quarter, 2:00, Celtics 55-48:The Celtics are using all their strengths tonight, and they're using them well. Nenad Krstic gets another dunk from under the hoop after Kevin Garnett tips a rebound to the center.
Speaking of strengths, Paul Pierce just blew by his defender with an easy layup off the dribble.
Second Quarter, 5:42, Celtics 47-38: Second Quarter, 6:38, Celtics 43-37: Second Quarter, 7:15, Celtics 38-37:
Second Quarter, 5:42, Celtics 47-38:The fast break goodness continues, as Rondo finds Allen on a long pass for the quick layup. The C's now have 15 fast break points in the first half.
Second Quarter, 6:38, Celtics 43-37:Thank you Ray Allen, that 3-pointer was key. The Celtics regain a six-point lead after the Wizards' brief burst after Delonte's ejection.
Second Quarter, 7:15, Celtics 38-37:Let's hope that ejection does not affect the Celtics' momentum, but it's allowed the Wizards to pull back within a few points of the Boston lead here in the second.
Second Quarter, 8:54, Celtics 38-35: The Celtics will play the rest of this game without Delonte West as he's ejected after technical fouls in the second.
The young referee took a quick action against West, who tried to plead his case after the foul call. The ref wasn't hearing that, and promptly sent him off the court.
Second Quarter, 9:21, Celtics 38-29: The Celtics are playing solid, composed basketball right now, and it's great to see amid their recent struggles.
They're attacking the net well, as Pierce just draws another foul on a drive to the hoop. The captain sinks both free throws.
Second Quarter, 10:47, Celtics 32-25: End of First Quarter, Celtics 28-23:
Second Quarter, 10:47, Celtics 32-25:The momentum continues in the C's favor as we get into the second quarter. Troy Murphy comes away with a nice spin move into a layup for his first bucket of the night.
End of First Quarter, Celtics 28-23:Rajon Rondo is doing what he does best tonight, driving to the net and dishing out assists.
Rondo has seven assists through the first quarter, including a nice dish to Glen Davis in the final seconds to cap the first half with a five-point lead.
First Quarter, 2:22, Celtics 24-16: Glen Davis is left unchallenged out on the wing, and he makes the Wizards pay as he sinks the jumper from the corner.
First Quarter, 4:15, Celtics 22-14:
First Quarter, 4:15, Celtics 22-14:The Celtics are off to a great start, getting contributions across the board, while playing solid defense on the opposite end.
Rondo already has five assists in the first quarter, to go along nicely with his four points.
First Quarter, 7:15, Celtics 14-4:
First Quarter, 7:15, Celtics 14-4: Well this is a good sign. Good defense by the big men on the opposite end, and that leads to great opportunities on offense.
Pierce sinks his first jumper of the night, and Rondo follows up with a coast-to-coast layup and a jumper.
Good to see all the players contributing early.
First Quarter, 10:00, Celtics 6-2:
First Quarter, 10:57, 2-2: Good hustle by Paul Pierce to start the quarter, but missing two layups in a row? Luckily the Celtics got the ball back and Ray Allen sinks his first jumper.
First Quarter, 10:00, Celtics 6-2:A little bit sloppy to start, but the Celtics are out to an early lead thanks to some quick transition plays led by Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen.
By the way, Nenad Krstic gets the start tonight, along with Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Allen and Pierce.
7:32 p.m.:It will be interesting to see how the Celtics' respond after Thursday's beating in Chicago. The starting five were exposed to some tight coverage by the Bulls' defense, and they'll be looking to break out against the Wizards.
Meanwhile, the C's secondary squad has been fairly impressive over the past few games — so let's hope they keep that performance up behind the Boston starters.
7:30 p.m.:The Wizards may be out of the playoff running, but that means they'll likely be playing an even tougher game since they have nothing to lose.
It's rookie John Wall's TD Garden debut, and he'll be taking it to Rajon Rondo and the Celtics all night.
7:24 p.m.:Jermaine O'Neal will not be playing for the Celtics against the Wizards on Friday night, but not to worry C's fans — the big man is not injured again.
Head coach Doc Rivers elected to keep O'Neal out of this one to let him rest up a bit before the playoff stretch. O'Neal will likely be back in the lineup for Sunday's matchup against the Heat.
7:15 p.m.: We'll bee keeping our eye on the Miami-Charlotte matchup throughout the night, as the Celtics are battling with the Heat for second place in the Eastern Conference. There are just four games remaining in the regular season, and at this point — second place is up for grabs.
7:10 p.m.:This game will give Rajon Rondo a good opportunity to redeem himself after getting outshone by Derrick Rose on Thursday night.
He'll match up with another premier point guard in Washington rookie John Wall on Friday night at the Garden, and he'll need to lead the Celtics as they try to bounce back after Thursday's loss.
8 a.m.: The Celtics insist that the drive to win these final games of the regular season is alive and well, but their record over the past month indicates something very different.
The C's dropped to 5-5 over the past 10 games after Thursday night's 97-81 loss to the conference-leading Chicago Bulls, a win that basically solidified the top seed for Tom Thibodeau's squad. The Celtics still have a chance at first, but it's very slim.
Rather than worrying about the top seed at this point, the Celtics should be focused on trying to keep their hold on the two seed. Boston is currently tied in second place with the Heat, and both teams have four more games — including the Sunday matchup against each other — before the regular season ends.
The C's welcome the already eliminated Washington Wizards to TD Garden on Friday night, but they can't expect to roll over any team at this point. We'll have all the action here throughout the day. Tip off is at 7:30 p.m.
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