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BOSTON – The Boston Celtics had an 18-point lead at the end of the third quarter. In every other NBA city in America -- and Canada -- that would mean it is time to relax and enjoy the fourth quarter.
In Boston, that means the contest is just getting started. For the umpteenth time in 2014, the Celtics almost immediately saw their blowout lead be grinded down to a single-digit game. Even though Rajon Rondo had a triple-double early in the fourth quarter, the real action didn't even begin until the final five minutes.
Jeff Green continued his consistent run of high-volume scoring, but most notably made an impact early with his four steals. Green helped keep the tempo up as he would turn his interceptions to thundering slams and more transition opportunities.
But then the Wizards started to catch fire. The Celtics’ gamble to overload the strong side on defense initiated their downfall, as open shooters in the corner like Rasual Butler and Bradley Beal were able to make them pay. When Paul Pierce started raining threes, the Wiz went on a run that had them within seven points.
Then Jared Sullinger emerged, nailing a few threes along with Marcus Thornton to reopen a double-digit lead. After a timeout, the Wizards came out in full force, going on a 12-2 run over a five-minute span to cut the lead to one before the final official timeout.
As the Wizards continued to knock on the door for their first lead of the game, the Celtics repeatedly came up with big plays just in the nick of time. The Wizards dramatically outplayed Boston in the fourth quarter, but when Paul Pierce had a wide-open look for three down by one with less than a minute to go, he front-rimmed the shot.
Avery Bradley’s clutch corner three on the proceeding transition play was followed by a Rajon Rondo steal that led to an acrobatic finish by Jeff Green to clinch the game.
In his third return to the Garden since he was traded to the Nets, Pierce had 16 points, most of which came against Rondo and Green.
With their third straight win, the Celtics improve to 7-11 and move to within a game of the Brooklyn Nets for the final playoff spot and second place in the Atlantic division.
How did it feel watching Pierce go against the Celtics?
This poll is closed
It was great to see him looking good again
Tough to watch one of our legends in another uniform
Even MJ played for the Wizards at the end