BOSTON -- The Washington Wizards brought in former Boston Celtics captain Paul Pierce in large part because of his ability to make late-game shots. But playing against his old team, Pierce couldn't come through in a big spot.
Pierce missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer with less than a minute to play, and Avery Bradley responded with a triple at the other end as the Celtics hung on for a 101-93 triumph at TD Garden.
The Celtics led by 18 entering the final quarter, but it took the Wizards little more than two minutes to trim their deficit to single figures. Washington clawed within a possession a handful of times with less than four minutes to play -- twice getting as close as a point with 2:50 to go -- but could never get all the way back.
The Wizards were down 94-93 when Pierce missed a quality look beyond the arc with 45 seconds to play. The Celtics raced the other way in transition and Jeff Green fed Bradley for a corner 3 that helped seal the victory.
Rasual Butler sparked Washington's fourth-quarter rally while scoring 22 points behind six 3-pointers, three of which came early in the final frame.
Rajon Rondo registered his 31st triple-double of his career by posting 13 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. Green finished with a team-high 25 points on 9-of-21 shooting.
Pierce finished with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting with three rebounds and an assist over 30 minutes.
• C's build lead with defense: The Celtics built a 17-point halftime lead while limiting the Wizards to 31 percent shooting (13 of 42). Washington also turned the ball over 12 times (leading to 11 points) and Boston got a bench spark from Marcus Thornton (11 first-half points) to lead 53-36 at the intermission.
• Loose balls: The Celtics went with a 10-man rotation. Rookie Marcus Smart played only eight minutes as he continues to work his way back from a left ankle injury and struggled defensively against John Wall's speed. ... Phil Pressey, Gerald Wallace and James Young were healthy DNPs. ... The Wizards shot 36.6 percent overall.
• What it means: The Celtics have won a season-high three straight while improving to 7-11. The Wizards fall to 13-6. The teams meet again to close out a home-and-home series on Monday night in the nation's capital.