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It was another record night for the Boston Celtics, who are starting to have many, on the road against the Washington Wizards. With both teams coming out shooting, it was the Celtics who got out to a commanding lead going into the half, but the Wizards couldn’t stay down for long as they battled back to take the lead late in the game. With good free-throw shooting in the final minutes, Boston was able to pull off the 104-102 victory for their ninth win in a row. It was also their 10th win in 11 road games, best in the NBA.
With a minute left in the game, Rajon Rondo drove past two defenders who were picked off by Kevin Garnett for the dunk to break the tie. From then on the game was decided by free throws, with Washington’s Gilbert Arenas missing two key ones in the last 26.7 seconds of the game. With the win the Celtics improved to 18-4 on the year, Washington continued their struggles with their third loss in a row to fall to 7-13 on the season.
Boston was led by Rondo, who had a season-high 21 points off 10-for-20 shooting while adding 11 assists and three rebounds. Rondo hasn’t been very active in scoring this season but he just couldn’t give up the shots that Washington was giving him. He easily handled Arenas as Rondo was able to blow past him on multiple plays.
Also having a big game for the Celtics was Ray Allen with 18 points off 8-for-11 shooting while scoring his 20,000 point of his career. Allen also added seven rebounds and two assists on the game. Kendrick Perkins had a solid game with 17 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 5-for-7 from the field.
Garnett continued his hot shooting as he went 8-for-14 from the field for 17 points with five rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block. While Garnett was hot, Paul Pierce was not. Pierce finished with 12 points on 2-for-8 shooting but added five rebounds, two assists and two steals. He also scored his 19,000 point of his career at the end of the game on a pair of free-throws. Pierce found himself in foul trouble early and was replaced by Tony Allen in his second game of the year. Allen was impressive on defense and added eight points on 4-for-5 shooting while having three rebounds and two steals in only 17 minutes.
For Washington, Arenas led the way with 25 points off 11-for-23 shooting but struggled from the free-throw line (1-f0r-6). He also added eight assists and three rebounds on the game. Brendan Haywood is the Perkins for the Wizards as he had 17 points (8-for-8) and added eight rebounds with a block and a steal.
Also having a big game for the Wizards were Antawn Jamison with 16 points (7-for-14 shooting) and eight rebounds and Caron Butler with 10 points (3-for-10 shooting) with eight rebounds and five assists. Coming off the bench was Andray Blatche who surprised everyone with 17 points by shooting 7-for-10 and 1-for-2 from beyond the arc. He also had five steals, three rebounds and three assists.
The two teams were evenly matched in shooting as the Celtics shot 49.3% for the game and the Wizards shot 48.2.%. Boston outrebounded Washington 40-34 and the teams were close on assists with 20 for the Celtics and 21 for the Wizards. The C’s were able to get to the free-throw a lot more often and that is where they won the game. Boston shot 26-for-37 from the charity stripe, Washington on the other hand shot 14-for-22. Other than that both teams were even in most of the other categories.
After both teams got off to a quick start the tempo slowed down and each team started to play a little defense. The Celtics only outscored the Wizards in the second quarter, the other three went to Washington.
After the first the score was 28-27 Washington, but then the Celtics went on a scoring spree as they racked up 37 points in the second while holding the Wizards to 22. The score going into the half was 64-50 in favor of the Celtics. Washington then narrowed the lead in the third as they brought the game to 83-74 going into the final quarter. The Wizards then kept the score close and even took a small lead a few times before Rondo took over the game and won it for the Celtics.
The C’s next visit the 7-13 Chicago Bulls Saturday night. Chicago has lost four in a row and they hope that Saturday’s game doesn’t end up like the last time the two teams met, a 118-90 win for Boston. The Celtics are playing their best basketball lately and will look to continue their success in road games in Chicago and Memphis up next.