Celtics try to improve in home matchup with Wizards

The Boston Celtics need to start acting like a playoff- bound team and look to get back on track Sunday versus the Washington Wizards.

Headed to the postseason for a sixth straight year, the Celtics have lost three of four and eight of their last 11 games. They are seventh in the East standings -- two games behind Atlanta and two ahead of Milwaukee.

Boston fell to 1-1 on a four-game homestand following Friday's 97-91 setback to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Jeff Green led the way for the Celtics with 23 points and nine rebounds, while Shavlik Randolph got some playing time to register 16 points before fouling out.

The Celtics played without forward Paul Pierce, who sat out due to a sore left ankle. Kevin Garnett also missed his eighth consecutive game for Boston because of inflammation in his left ankle.

"I wanted Paul to play tonight, but he couldn't," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "Honestly, I would've played him if he could have."

Pierce and Garnett are both questionable versus the Wizards. Pierce (1,098) is closing in on Robert Parish (1,106) for second in games played donning a Celtics uniform and is nine shy of passing the one known as "The Chief."

Garnett is 11th on the NBA's all-time games played list, 10 games short of passing Moses Malone for 10th.

Boston is 26-12 at TD Garden this season and will close out the homestand Wednesday versus the Brooklyn Nets.

Washington is coming off an impressive win over the playoff-bound Indiana Pacers and recorded a 104-85 victory Saturday night.

John Wall scored a game-high 37 points on 16-of-25 shooting for the Wizards, who have won nine in a row at home and three of four overall. Washington hadn't won nine straight at home since a 10-game spurt from Dec. 13, 2006 to Jan. 20, 2007.

"You don't want to lose on a night like this," Wall said.

Kevin Seraphin chipped in 15 points and Martell Webster had 13 in the triumph.

The Wizards will try to stop a four-game road slide Sunday and are just 7-30 away from D.C. this season. They are slated to visit New York on Tuesday.

Washington is 0-2 against Boston this season and winless in the past six matchups between the teams. The Celtics are 14-3 in the last 17 games against the Wizards, losers in five straight and eight of nine visits to Beantown.