Irving scores Boston's last 12 in 130-125 OT win at Wizards
ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 13, 2018 11:23 AM
Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) shoots between Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3), forward Markieff Morris (5), and guard John Wall (2) during the overtime period of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, in Washington. The Celtics won 130-125. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press
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 (Thursday, PHL time).
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 triple 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 three's.
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 triple 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 three, it gave the hosts an 85-84 lead with about 9.5 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 three-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 three-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 (Saturday, PHL time).
Wizards: At Brooklyn on Friday (Saturday, PHL time).