BOSTON – Patrolling the section behind the stanchion closest to the Boston Celtics, was a fan donning a Grim Reaper outfit.
After Washington’s all-black, funeral procession-like attire when these two met in last, the Celtics – and their fans of course – were looking to see Boston bury the Washington Wizards.
Did they ever.
The Celtics broke the game open in the second quarter and never looked back in defeating the Wizards 110-102.
- Highlights: Boston Celtics 110, Washington Wizards 102
- Blakely: Victory over Wizards is much more than 'just another win' for Celtics
- Rozier-Jennings dust-up provides spark for Celtics in win vs. Wizards
- Isaiah Thomas on Wizards: 'Those guys don't like us, we don't like them'
- Stars, studs and duds: Bradley shines at both ends of the floor
With the win, Boston (45-26) has evened the head-to-head series two games apiece while increasing their lead over Washington (42-28) to 2.5 games for the No. 2 seed in the East.
Although the season series is now tied up, Boston would likely win out if the two were to finish in a tie if they can maintain a better conference record (29-13) which they currently have over the Wizards (26-18).
Boston led by as many as 20 points before the Wizards began to chip away at Boston’s control in the fourth quarter and came within six points (106-100).
The Celtics were in need of an offensive spark so they turned to – who else? – Isaiah Thomas.
Returning to the Celtics’ lineup after missing the two previous games with a knee injury, drained a jumper to make it a 102-91 game and would finish with 25 points.
Following a Washington turnover, Avery Bradley’s lay-up was rebounded by Al Horford who jammed it home to put Boston up 104-91 with 4:36 to play.
Horford, coming off a season-high 27 points against Philadelphia on Sunday, had a solid all-around game with 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
Boston also got a strong game from two-way standout Avery Bradley who had 20 points on 8-for-16 shooting with nine rebounds and four assists.
Washington, losers in four of its last five games, were led by Bradley Beal’s 19 points with John Wall chipping in with 16.
The Celtics didn’t really assert control of the game until the second quarter.
And while it didn’t seem like that big a deal at the time, a dust-up involving Terry Rozier, Brandon Jennings and Kelly Oubre Jr. seemed to light a spark on Boston that began the process of snuffing out any hopes Boston had of leaving Boston with a victory.
It led to a video review which determined that double techs were in order for Rozier and Oubre Jr., and a foul against Jennings.
At the time of the incident, the score was tied at 37.
The Celtics scored the next six points which included a long 2-pointer by Thomas (the tip of his toe was on the 3-point line) that led to a Wizards time-out with 6:19 to play in the half.
Boston continued to surge ahead with their lead peaking at 11 points (53-42) following a pair of free throws by Thomas who was back in the lineup after missing two games with a knee bruise.
The control Boston displayed in the second quarter was in stark contrast to how the game was played in the first quarter which featured strong runs by both teams.
First there was the Wizards breaking open an 8-all tie with an 11-4 surge leading to a Celtics time-out with 6:19 to play.
Boston came out of the time-out playing a different, more effective brand of basketball resulting in 10 straight points that put them ahead 22-19.
The rest of the quarter was a tightly played contested that ended with Boston ahead 30-28 following a put-back basket by Bradley.