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Paul Pierce and the Celtics started fast, but the Wizards made things interesting down the stretch.BOSTON -- Rapid reaction after the Boston Celtics defeated the Washington Wizards 100-94 in overtime Wednesday night at TD Garden:
THE NITTY GRITTY
Brandon Bass scored five of his 11 points in overtime, with five in a row as the Celtics pulled away for their second consecutive harder-than-it-should-have-been triumph over Washington. Kevin Garnett (20 points, 13 rebounds) and Rajon Rondo (18 points, 14 assists) added double-doubles for the Celtics, while Jason Terry chipped in 16 points off the bench in his best effort with Boston. Kevin Seraphin and Martell Webster each came off the pine to score 16 points for the Wizards, while Bradley Beal (16), A.J. Price (15) and Chris Singleton (14) joined them in double figures.
TURNING POINT 1: WILCOX'S IMPACT
Chris Wilcox saw his first action with 3:10 to play in the third quarter and the game tied at 56. He proceeded to (1) block a Seraphin jumper; (2) force a turnover that led to an and-1 layup off a feed from Rondo; and (3) help out on the defensive glass. That allowed Boston to carry a 66-58 lead out of the third quarter. The Celtics' bench was in desperate need of a spark, and Wilcox provided it.
TURNING POINT 2: A CRAZY FINAL MINUTE
The Celtics were down a point with little more than a minute to go when Garnett forced a baseline turnover, only to be tagged with a technical foul for extracurricular activity with Seraphin (it ended up being a wash, as Martell Webster hit the technical and Garnett made his two free throws to tie the game at 84). Back on the defensive end, Pierce forced Seraphin to turn the ball over and was fouled, but made only one of his freebies. Webster turned the ball over yet again, but (again) Rondo made just one of two for an 86-84 lead with 36.6 seconds to play. Chris Singleton responded with two free throws with 33.1 seconds to go to even the game. Rondo buried a 20-foot jumper with 26.4 seconds to go, but Singleton responded with a driving one-handed jam with 9.4 ticks to play to set up the final-shot opportunity. Rondo's not-what-they-drew-up, step-back 3-pointer was off the mark as time expired.
TURNING POINT 3: OVERTIME
Two strong drives at the bucket resulted in three points for Bass, including a layup with 1:51 to play that had Boston on top 95-92. Bass added a layup in transition with 37.7 seconds to go to essentially seal the win.
WHO NEEDS FREE THROWS?
The Wizards didn't shoot their first free throw of the game until there was 7:19 remaining in the third quarter (a span of nearly 29 minutes) before Beal capped a three-point play with a trip to the charity stripe. The Wizards were up 49-44 at that point. Washington finished with just seven free throw attempts (making six); Boston was 28-of-34 at the stripe.
RONDO MOVING TOWARD HISTORY
Rondo now has 10-plus assists in 28 straight regular-season games spanning the past two seasons, the fourth-longest streak in NBA history. He's still chasing two marks by John Stockton and the NBA record of 46 games by Magic Johnson in 1983-84, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
WHAT IT MEANS
Just when you think the Celtics are moving in the right direction, they certainly made things harder than they needed to be in this one. There are plenty of positives, including Wilcox's burst and Terry's contributions, along with Bass' late-game play. But Boston still is searching for that elusive chemistry and consistency. The Celtics were up 11 early in the fourth quarter before the Wizards rallied to force the extra session. Boston will take a day off before hosting the Andrew Bynum-less Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night at TD Garden.