THE NITTY GRITTY
Avery Bradley scored 21 of his team-high 26 points after the intermission, putting on a mid-range clinic while shooting 12-of-18 from the floor overall in a team-high 38 minutes, but couldn't fend off the Washington charge. Jared Sullinger (22 points, 11 rebounds) and Brandon Bass (11 points, 11 rebounds) held a meeting of the double-double club, while Jordan Crawford had 11 points, 8 assists, and 3 rebounds against his former squad. Trevor Ariza scored 19 of his game-high 27 points after the intermission (including 14 in the third quarter) to help the Wizards rally back. Marcin Gortat added 13 points and 11 rebounds, while John Wall kicked in 20 points and 9 assists for Washington.
Despite leading by as much as 18 early, the Celtics again let an opponent back into the game. Boston's lead was at 8 with 6:14 to play, but Ariza and Wall paired up to key a 14-1 run and Ariza's fifth 3-pointer of the night had the Wizards out front 98-93 with 2:24 to play (Washington's biggest lead of the night to that point). The Wizards closed out the game on a 22-7 run overall.
After turning the ball over just three times in the first half, the Celtics gave it away six times in the third quarter. The team finished with a manageable 13 turnovers for 16 points, but that third quarter let Washington back into the game. ... Boston shot 48.3 percent overall, but struggled beyond the 3-point arc (4-of-20, 20 percent). ... Gortat finished a team-best plus-19 for Washington; Wall was plus-16. ... Keith Bogans and MarShon Brooks were healthy DNPs for Boston.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (12-16) have now lost two straight and are tied with Toronto atop the Atlantic Division. Boston travels to Indiana tonight with the tail end of a back-to-back looming Sunday against the East-leading Pacers (it's also a homecoming for Indianapolis native Brad Stevens). A five-day holiday break is their reward, the first three days of which the Celtics will take completely off from basketball activities. Boston returns to practice on Dec. 26 and hosts the Cleveland Cavaliers next Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.