Brandon Bass scored five straight points in overtime to break a tie and lead the Celtics to an 100-94 win over the Wizards Wednesday night at TD Garden. Kevin Garnett had 20 points, 13 rebounds while Rondo added 18 points and 14 assists as the Celtics swept the home-and-home series. Jason Terry had a season-high 16 points off the bench for the Celtics, who overcame 19 turnovers and an ugly night of 42 percent shooting to even their record at 2-2.
As they did in jumping out 17-2 on Saturday night, the Celtics started out blazing hot against the Wizards, racing out to an 11-2 lead in the first three minutes. Garnett was dominant in the opening quarter, grabbing nine of his team's 15 rebounds. With Garnett in the lineup, the Celtics were able to build an early 11-5 lead. Garnett went out of the lineup and the Wizards immedately took advantage, outscoring the Celtics, 11-6, to climb back in the game.
The same scenario unfolded in the second quarter as Boston went up, 26-22, before Garnett came out of the game with seven minutes left before half. The Wizards went on a 16-8 spurt to grab a 38-34 lead. Collectively, the Celtics were outscored 27-14 in the first half without Garnett in the lineup. The Celtics fell flat to end the first half, going to the locker room trailing 42-37. In addition to his 10 rebounds and seven points, Garnett was a defensive force, blocking a pair of shots, including one in the closing moments that energized the team and building at the break.
Garnett was a force to open the third scoring baskets on Boston's first two possessions. He drew a foul and converted a free throw on the third possession as the Celtics tied the game in the opening two minutes. That would be a sign of things to come as the Celtics dominated the third quarter to grab control of the game. They outscored the Wizards, 29-16, in the period to take a 66-58 lead heading into the fourth.
The Celtics would grow their lead to 11, 71-60, only to see the Wizards storm back with a 16-6 run. Jason Terry hit his second three of the night with 3:45 left to put the Celtics up, 80-76. But a pair of Terry misses from long range set the Wizards up for a pair of two-pointers that tied the game, 80-80, with under three minutes left. A pair of Rondo free throws with 2:08 left put the Celtics up, 82-80, only to have 19-year-old Bradley Beal answer with a three at the 1:55 mark to give Washington it's first lead since early in the third quarter.
Garnett was fouled by Kevin Seraphin with just over a minute left. The two tangled and Garnett was called for throwing an elbow that earned him a technical. After the free throw that put Washington up, 84-82, Garnett hit both free throws to tie it. Pierce came up with a steal thanks to Garnett's pressure up top and hit a free throw that put Boston up, 85-84. After Rondo hit one of two free throws, Chris Singleton converted two free throws with 33.1 seconds left to tie it, 86-86.
Rondo hit a straightaway jumper from the top of the circle with 26.4 seconds left to put Boston up before Singleton drove the lane for a thunderous one-handed slam with 9.4 seconds left to tie it again. Rondo dribbled out the last nine seconds before taking a contested three at the buzzer that rang off the rim to send the game to overtime.
Brandon Bass hit a free throw and moments later a layup to put the Celtics up, 95-92, with 1:51 left in overtime. Following a defensive stop by Rondo and Garnett, Bass' breakaway dunk with 37.7 seconds left sealed the game.
The Celtics are off Thursday before taking on the Sixers in a rematch of their seven-game Eastern semi-final series from last spring. For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics and the Green Street blog.
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