The Boston Celtics will search for a sixth straight win at TD Garden as well as a season sweep of the Washington Wizards tonight.
The Celtics had a chance to take over the Atlantic Division lead on Friday in Philadelphia but a disappointing loss was overshadowed by a scary injury to swingman Mickael Pietrus.
The veteran left on a stretcher and was hospitalized with what was described as a questionable closed head injury after landing hard on his back and suffering what looked like whiplash to his neck.
"It looked awful," coach Doc Rivers said. "I just saw his neck snap. You knew that was bad. He was throwing up on the floor, so that's not very good either."
That overshadowed Boston's 99-86 setback to the first place Sixers, a triumph that extended Philadelphia's precarious lead in the division to 1 1/2 games.
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett had 20 points apiece to lead Boston and Brandon Bass scored 18. Rajon Rondo had 17 assists and six points in the loss, which dropped Boston to 4-4 at the end of an eight-game road trip.
"The injury, fatigue, whatever, finally caught up to us," Rivers said. "We took all jump shots. To me that's the sign of a team that is kind of tired. We kind of gave in a little bit."
Pietrus returned to Boston Saturday to undergo further tests and his status is unknown while Ray Allen, who missed the game against the Sixers with a sore right ankle, is questionable for tonight. Fellow guard Avery Bradley, who sprained his left ankle in Philly, is also day-to-day.
The Wizards have dropped two straight, including a tough 95-92 home loss to Atlanta on Saturday, the first of a tough back-to-back-to-back stretch.
Nene poured in a game-high 21 points while grabbing 11 rebounds and Jordan Crawford donated 20 points for the Wizards, who have lost seven of nine overall.
John Wall, who was a dismal 1-for-10 from the field in the game, had a chance to deadlock things at the buzzer but his three was awry as the Hawks rallied from a 16-point deficit to earn the victory.
"I think, once they started coming back, everybody was like, 'Here we go again.' I think it might've caused some frustration," said Wizards forward Trevor Booker.
Boston has won three straight and 11 of 14 over Washington, which will finish its grueling three games in three nights stretch by facing the Pistons in D.C. on Monday.