WASHINGTON (AP) – Kevin Garnett's 19 points led six Celtics in double figures, and Boston limited Washington to 2-for-18 shooting in the fourth quarter en route to a 99-88 victory over the Wizards on Monday night.
Boston ended a three-game losing streak and prevented Washington from compiling its first three-game winning streak since April 2008.
The Wizards led by eight points late in the third quarter, but the Celtics used a 16-4 run capped by Rasheed Wallace's 16-foot fadeaway jumper to go up 86-82 midway through the fourth.
Boston outscored Washington 25-10 in the final quarter, even though Paul Pierce sat out the period after hurting his ankle.
It looked a bit and sounded a lot as though it were a home game for Boston: Plenty of green jerseys and hats dotted the sellout crowd of 20,173, and the loudest cheers followed dunks by the Celtics.
It's been a trying season for the Wizards, what with all the losing that began long before three-time All-Star point guard Gilbert Arenas was suspended for bringing guns into the locker room and joking about it.
Arenas and guard Javaris Crittenton were banned for the rest of the season by NBA commissioner David Stern last week; Washington won its next two games, but couldn't finish off Boston.
Wizards coach Flip Saunders acknowledged again before tipoff that all of the outside distractions associated with the gun case made it tough for his players to concentrate during games. Celtics coach Doc Rivers said that would make sense.
"It looks like they're playing a little freer," Rivers said. "They're starting to execute some of Flip's stuff. When you take over a team that's been together as long as they have, and you come in with a new system, it takes some time."
Antawn Jamison, Washington's leading scorer now that Arenas is suspended, had about as rough a night as he ever does. He shot 2 for 17 and scored only eight points, plus he had five fouls in the fourth quarter.
Boston was up by as many as nine points in the first quarter, but the Wizards used a 10-0 run to move ahead, and the hosts took a 45-36 lead on Nick Young's 18-foot jumper with 4 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter.
Washington led 54-48 at halftime - thanks in part to Mike Miller's nine points and five rebounds - and 78-74 heading into the fourth quarter.
NOTES: Pierce and Butler collided as the first half ended, and both were slow to get up. It appeared Pierce stepped on Butler's left foot. ... A few hours before tipoff, an op-ed piece by Arenas was put up on The Washington Post's Web site. Arenas pledges to be a better role model and says he understands that "guns and violence are serious problems, not joking matters." ... With the Feb. 18 trade deadline approaching, there has been plenty of talk about whether the Wizards might move Jamison or Butler - or both. While Saunders brushed aside the topic - "We don't talk about trades," he said - Rivers took a tongue-in-cheek approach. Asked whether he thought the Wizards could be active in the next 2 1/2 weeks, Rivers smiled broadly and replied: "I think they should get rid of all those guys, personally. I'm the first to say that they should move Jamison as quickly as you can. And Caron. That would be absolutely fantastic for all of us in the East." ... Washington's last three-game winning streak came April 4-9, 2008, against Miami, Chicago and Boston.