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Just two days after the emotional head injury to Mickael Pietrus, the Celtics returned to action Sunday, defeating the Washington Wizards 88-76. The win completed Boston’s season sweep of the Wizards, who fell to a woeful 11-37 record. It was also the C’s sixth straight at home, improving their record to 17-8 at the TD Garden.
It was a historic night for Kevin Garnett, as he became the 18th player in NBA history to score 24,000 points. He finished with 10.
Playing without Pietrus and Ray Allen (ankle), Boston jumped out to an early 15-2 lead to start the game. Avery Bradley, who started in place of Allen, sparked the run, with 11 quick points. Bradley went a scorching 7-7 for 15 points as the Celtics finished the first quarter with a 27-12 lead. The C’s defense started strong, holding Washington to 3-22 shooting in the opening 12 minutes.
The Celtics began the second quarter on an 8-0 run, before the Wizards countered with an 8-2 spurt of their own. Paul Pierce got on the board after a scoreless first, scoring eight in the quarter.
The Wizards closed the half on a 10-4 run but still trailed 53-34. Bradley led the team with 19 in the first half as Boston shot nearly 65 percent. Forward Kevin Seraphin led Washington with 11 first-half points while leading-scorer John Wall was held to just two points on 1-6 shooting.
The Wizards cut the deficit to 10 with an 11-2 run to open the second half, sparked by their second-chance scoring. Washington had 11 offensive rebounds as Boston called a timeout at the 7:30 mark in the third quarter.
The Celtics answered with a 10-2 run following the timeout, pushing their lead to 18. However, the Wizards defense tightened up, holding the C’s to 6-20 shooting in the quarter as they cut the deficit to 14 entering the final quarter.
The Celtics began the fourth quarter shooting 2-8 as Washington cut the lead to 11. But that is as close as the Wizards would get.
Following a Boston timeout at the 5:52 mark, the Celtics closed out the Wizards with a 12-3 run capped by a Brandon Bass free throw coming off a John Wall technical foul. The C’s then emptied the bench with a 20-point lead.
Bradley led the team with a career-high 23 points and Pierce added 21 as five Celtics scored in double figures. Jordan Crawford led the way for Washington with 20, as the Wizards shot just 35 percent on the night.
The C’s will now travel to Charlotte to face the Bobcats Monday night at the Time Warner Cable Arena.