Wizards spoil Celtics Christmas by rallying for 111-103 victory

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BOSTON – The high-level intensity and overall disdain we’ve come to expect when Boston and Washington play was nowhere to be found on Monday.

It was as if players for both teams were doing their best to make sure they were not on Santa’s naughty list.

That certainly worked out for the Celtics.

But the game itself?

Not so much, as the Wizards used a fourth-quarter surge fueled by multiple Celtics defensive breakdowns to pull out a 111-103 victory for a rare win in Boston.

Including the playoffs last season, Washington had lost nine in a row at the TD Garden prior to the Christmas Day win, the first time the Celtics have ever hosted a Christmas game.

Still, the Celtics kept things interesting, especially after a Terry Rozier 3-pointer with 1:02 to play cut Washington’s lead to 108-103.

But Boston’s inability to make a key defensive stop or finish off the play by grabbing the rebound proved to ultimately be its undoing.

And after Rozier’s 3, Bradley Beal missed a jumper only to have Otto Porter Jr. swoop in for the offensive rebound, which essentially ended any shot at a Celtics rally.

Beal had 25 points in leading the Wizards (19-15) while his backcourt mate John Wall had 21 points and 14 assists.

For Boston, Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum each had 20 points with Rozier (16 points) and Daniel Theis (12) each having a good game off the bench.

After spending most of the game playing from behind, the Celtics seemed to have found their groove early in the fourth.

Boston pulled ahead 95-90 following a 3-pointer by Irving, only to have the Wizards respond with a 12-0 run, capped by a Beal dunk that put Washington ahead 102-95 with 3:48 to play.

From there, the Celtics never strung together enough plays to gain any much-needed traction to make it a closer game.

Washington opened with a quick 5-0 spurt. Boston to respond by scoring 12 of the game’s next 18 points to trail, 13-12.

Boston continued to play close, but-not-close-enough basketball for the rest of the first quarter which ended with the Wizards on top, 30-24.

The Celtics have been a little too nice in the second quarter of games, allowing opponents to get pretty much anything and everything they want at both ends of the floor.

But on Monday, the Celtics were more Grinch-like in doing a better job of limiting the Wizards compared to the first quarter.

The Celtics took a short-lived lead on a Jayson Tatum driving lay-up that only to have the half to end with a Kelly Oubre Jr. basket and a short jumper by Bradley Beal that gave the Wizards a 52-50 advantage at intermission.

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