Celtics disappear in 106-99 loss to Wizards

Celtics disappear in 106-99 loss to Wizards
December 21, 2013, 3:30 pm
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BOSTON — Another fast start by the Boston Celtics ends with a feeble finish as the Washington Wizards becoming the latest to rally from a huge deficit at the TD Garden to defeat the Celtics.

And like the previous setbacks, Saturday's 106-99 loss stings a little more than most losses. Avery Bradley led all scorers with 26 points.

A 21-point lead at home to Detroit on Wednesday ended with a 107-106 loss. In their home opener last month, they led Milwaukee by 20-plus points and wound up losing that game (93-87) as well.

You can add Saturday's second-half slumber to the growing list of Celtics collapses, as they led the Wizards by as many as 18 points before losing their second straight - both at home.

But as the game wore on, Washington hung around until ultimately taking their first lead of the night on a John Wall jumper with 2:51 to play and Washington ahead 95-93.

After a Celtics miss, the Wizards increased their lead to 98-93 with a 3-pointer by Trevor Ariza.

Boston got a free throw from Jeff Green, but the Wizards countered Celtics killer Marcin Gortat whose lay-up with 1:08 to play gave Washington a 100-94 lead.

The demise of the Celtics began once they returned to the floor to start the second half.  

Three straight possessions, three straight turnovers was how Boston began the third quarter.

Fortunately for the Celtics, Washington could only capitalize on the miscues for just two points.

As the Wizards gained confidence, Boston turned to Jared Sullinger who is steadily emerging as the team's most consistent go-to performer.

A 3-pointer by Trevor Ariza brought the Wizards within 55-53.

But Sullinger, who finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds, scored five straight. Boston continued to maintain a lead which stood at 76-74 going into the fourth quarter.

The second half struggles was a sharp contrast to how the game began.

Boston once again opened with a fast and furious start, scoring the game's first seven points before ending the first with a 3-pointer by former Wizard Jordan Crawford that put Boston ahead 30-14 which was their largest lead of the quarter.

Not surprisingly, Washington got back into the game in the second quarter behind 60 percent shooting from the field and an unexpected lift from their bench.

Specifically Kevin Seraphin who scored nine of his 13 points in the second quarter to bring the Wizards within five points before the half ended with Boston ahead 51-44.