The Celtics have played some ugly basketball since the NBA All-Star break, and though they didn’t set the world on fire Friday night, they snapped their skid.
Boston put an end to its four-game losing streak with a 107-96 win over the Washington Wizards at TD Garden.
The Celtics got off to a quick start, but once the Wizards pulled back late in the first quarter it mostly was a back-and-forth affair the rest of the way. Boston finally created a little bit of breathing room before the midway point in the fourth, and it made sure not to allow the Wizards to make the game too interesting down the stretch.
Kyrie Irving posted a double-double with 13 points and 12 assists. Al Horford had a team-high 18 points, while Marcus Morris (17), Marcus Smart (16), Jaylen Brown (13), Daniel Theis (11) and Jayson Tatum (10) also tallied double-figure scoring.
Bradley Beal had a game-high 29 points and was one of four Wizards in double figures.
With the win, the Celtics climbed to 38-25, while the Wizards fell to 25-37.
Here’s how it all went down.
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Marcus Morris Sr.
C: Al Horford
C’S COME OUT FIRING
Quality offensive possessions by the Celtics coupled with dreadful responses from the Wizards allowed the Boston to finish the opening stanza ahead 30-20.
The tone was set pretty quick, as Wizards head coach Scott Brooks had to call a timeout just 1:58 into the game after the Celtics kicked off the contest with an 8-1 run. It took the Wizards 5:45 to score their first field goal, and by the time they did, the Celtics had opened up a 13-2 advantage.
Beal led all players with 10 points in the first 12 minutes. Horford paced the Celtics with eight.
Boston’s offense came to screeching halt in the second quarter, and though it went into the half ahead 49-45, the C’s were outscored 25-19 in the period.
After a sharp first quarter, it took the Celtics three minutes to get on the board in the second. The Celts’ offense stagnated quite a bit throughout the stanza, which allowed the Wizards to get back in the game.
Things finally came to a head for the Celtics when Washington strung together an 11-2 run over 1:55 to grab a 45-44 lead, its first of the game, at the 2:07 mark. The Celtics responded with the quarter’s final five points to go into the break with the advantage.
Beal and Horford led all players with six points in the second. The Wizards star had a game-high 16 first-half points, while the C’s big man was next with 14.
OFFENSES HEAT UP
The few minute reprieve was much needed for both sides, as the third period featured some quality offense. Boston ultimately was outscored by the Wizards 36-33 in the quarter but took an 82-81 lead into the final frame.
The C’s lead hovered around four and six for much of the third as the two teams traded punches on the attacking end. With two minutes to play, a Troy Brown Jr. dunk pulled the Wizards within a pair, and though the Celtics got their lead back up to four, a Jabari Parker triple just before the buzzer brought the Wizards within one.
Beal led all players with 11 points in the third, while Morris topped the Celtics with nine. Washington shot 62.5 percent from the field in the third while Boston hit 60.9 percent of its attempts.
BOSTON CLAIMS FOURTH, AND GAME
The Celtics kicked it into another gear in the fourth to create some much-needed separation. They outscored the Wizards 25-15 in the final 12 minutes en route to the victory.
The first few minutes of the frame remained narrow, but the Celtics finally created some breathing room shortly before the midway point. Thanks to a quick 6-0 run over 33 seconds, the Celtics upped their lead to 97-88 with 6:50 to play. Back-to-back steals by the Celtics lead to their final four points of the spurt.
A Brown lay-in with four minutes to play brought the Celtics’ lead back into double digits for the first time since the second quarter. Shortly thereafter, a Smart 27-foot trey with 2:58 left put Boston ahead by 12 and effectively set the game out of reach.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Have to love Morris yelling at the ball after the slam.
The Celtics will remain at home for a Sunday matinee against the Houston Rockets. Tip from TD Garden is set for 3:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images