Celtics fight back, pull away in fourth quarter to beat Wizards, 117-108

Celtics fight back, pull away in fourth quarter to beat Wizards, 117-108

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics have seen their share of short-handed days this season, but missing five players (that’s one-third of their roster) is a bit extreme even for them.

Regardless of how many bodies the Celtics have available, you can expect them to a hard-fought, scrappy kind of game.

That’s example what the Wizards were in store for Wednesday night.


Despite having more healthy bodies and playing their best basketball of the season, Boston was not going to be denied – not tonight, anyway.

After spending a good chunk of the night fighting their way back, the Celtics delivered the knockout near the end of the fourth with a 13-0 run to pull away for a 117-108 win.

Isaiah Thomas continued to blister teams with his play in the fourth quarter, finishing with a game-high 38 points which included 20 in the fourth quarter.  The Wizards (19-19) were led by Bradley Beal's 35 points.

Thomas went into assassin mode in the fourth, with a put-back basket on his own miss and then an absolutely cold-blooded 3-pointer in Bradley Beal’s face followed by another in Otto Porter’s mug that put the Celtics ahead 98-91 – their largest lead of the game – with 7:01 to play.

But the Wizards rank off eight straight to regain the lead 99-98, only for Boston’s Al Horford to work the post and score a physical, bump-and-grind lay-up that gave Boston a 100-99 lead.

That basket was part of a 13-0 Celtics run capped off by a 3-pointer by Horford who finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and three assists. 

The Celtics went back and forth in the first quarter in what was a high-scoring, highly entertaining start to the game that ended with the Celtics ahead 36-35 after the first.

Boston’s control didn’t last long in the second quarter which was dominated by the Wizards who spent most of the quarter holding on to a slim lead that peaked at six points late in the quarter.

But the Celtics cut Washington’s lead to 59-55 at the half following a put-back lay-up by Horford.

Washington pulled ahead by as many as 10 points in the third after a tip-in by Wizards center Marcin Gortat.

But the Celtics, ever the scrappy bunch particularly when their backs are against the wall, went on a 12-3 run to come within 82-81 following a Jae Crowder basket.

The Celtics could not get any closer as the third quarter ended with Boston trailing 85-83.

NBCSB Breakfast pod: How Jayson Tatum compares to Paul Pierce

NBC Sports Illustration

NBCSB Breakfast pod: How Jayson Tatum compares to Paul Pierce

1:25 - With half of the Celtics roster on the shelf, we’ve been able to see just how great a scorer Jayson Tatum can be. A. Sherrod Blakely, Mike Girardi and Trenni Kusnierek discuss how Tatum compares to Celtics legend, Paul Pierce.

5:35 - The NFL Competition Committee is giving it their best shot at modifying the ‘catch rule’ and Tom Curran, Kyle Draper and Hardy try to wrap their heads around the proposed changes.

11:02 - The Bruins clinched a playoff berth despite losing to the St. Louis Blues in overtime. Joe Haggerty joins Tom Giles to break down the game, which included another goal by Ryan Donato and a questionable call on a high hit on David Krejci.

Report: Kyrie Irving to undergo knee exam Thursday


Report: Kyrie Irving to undergo knee exam Thursday

The second opinion on Kyrie Irving’s sore left knee will be done on Thursday, according to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett.

Irving, who has missed the last four games, is expected to decide between having a surgical procedure performed to help alleviate some of the soreness, or continue to manage it with rest.


During the 2015 NBA Finals, Irving suffered a fractured left kneecap injury which was the beginning of Irving’s left knee issues.

While Irving has had soreness of some form during various stretches of play this season, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen him making progress recently.

“That knee is still sore,” Stevens said. “He’s worked really hard to manage it throughout the entire season. He’s had some pretty good days recently. I’m encouraged by the big picture.”

But Stevens has made it clear that he supports Irving getting a second opinion, adding that Irving’s absence is due to the knee being too sore for him to play at a level he’s accustomed to.

“He’s out because of knee soreness, not because we’re choosing to rest him,” Stevens said. “That’s the bottom line. Again, we want him to feel 110 percent. He wants to feel 110 percent. Obviously, we’re fortunate we created a cushion early on in the year with playoffs and everything else. This is not one of those situations where we’re choosing to rest someone; it’s because he has a sore knee.”