WASHINGTON (AP) — Kyrie Irving scored Boston’s last 12 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers in the final 40 seconds of overtime to outduel John Wall in a point-guard showdown, and the Celtics extended their winning streak to seven games with a 130-125 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
With his team serenaded by “Let’s go, Celtics!” chants on the road, Irving even got his own “M-V-P!” chorus late, finishing with 38 points and seven assists. Marcus Morris added 27 points and nine rebounds for Boston, which played without Al Horford, Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown — its No. 4-6 leading scorers.
No matter how many players they were missing, and no matter how disjointed their offense looked for a half, the Celtics had too many interchangeable parts to get beaten by an opponent that has been inconsistent all season. Wall returned after missing a game with an aching left heel to pour in 34 points with 13 assists. But his seven points in OT weren’t enough to keep pace with fellow All-Star Irving.
The Wizards led 123-122 when Irving made a 3 with just under 40 seconds to go, and after Wall tied it at 125, Irving hit another shot from beyond the arc — this one from 31 feet. That gave Boston the lead for good, because Bradley Beal (22 points; zero in OT) and Wall them missed 3s.
This sure was a close one: The clubs kept trading the lead and neither was ahead by more than three points over the final 10 minutes of regulation. Up 113-110, Boston opted to foul Beal on purpose with 13 seconds left, but that backfired, because after he made the first free throw, he missed the second — but grabbed the rebound and put it in for the tie.
Irving blew by Beal at the other end but missed a layup right before the buzzer, sending the game to an extra period. And then he really took over.
Down by nine at halftime, the Celtics turned things around in a hurry — although not before that deficit grew to 57-46 early in the third quarter.
Soon enough, Boston put together a 10-0 spurt, capped by a pair of free throws by Marcus Smart, to take the lead at 65-62 midway through the period. When Morris made a 3 and, after Washington turned over its inbounds pass, Terry Rozier sank another to cap a 27-9 run, suddenly the Celtics held their biggest lead at 73-66.
The lopsided third quarter ended with Boston ahead 84-77.
But the Wizards opened the fourth with an 8-0 run despite resting Beal and Wall, and when Markieff Morris — Marcus’ twin — hit a 3, it gave the hosts an 85-84 lead with about 9½ minutes left.
Horford sat for the third consecutive game — he’s expected to miss at least a few more because of an injured left knee — and Brown and Hayward were out because of illness.
The Celtics made only 19 of 50 shots in the first half, going 4 of 20 on 3-pointers, and managed a grand total of six assists during that time. No wonder the Wizards led by as many 10 during the first two quarters and were up 55-46 at the break.
Didn’t last long, though.
Boston outscored the Wizards 38-22 in the third quarter, when the Celtics had 10 assists and shot better than 60 percent.
Celtics: Daniel Theis fouled out after just 14 minutes of game action. He had eight points and six rebounds. … Boston went 25 for 25 at the free throw line. … Semi Ojeleye was 1 for 7 on 3-point attempts.
Wizards: Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 20 of their 32 bench points. … Rebounding has been a problem all season and this was no different. Washington was beaten 50-41 on the boards and outscored 24-8 in second-chance points.
Celtics: Host Atlanta on Friday.
Wizards: At Brooklyn on Friday.
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