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BOSTON – Jeff Green scored 25 points, reserve Marcus Thornton had 21 and the Boston Celtics nearly blew a 25-point third-quarter lead before beating the Washington Wizards 101-93 Sunday in Paul Pierce's return.
Rajon Rondo had a triple-double with 13 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists for the Celtics, who won their third straight after a season-high five-game losing streak.
Rasual Butler scored 14 of his 22 points in the final quarter for the Wizards, who failed to match the franchise's best start since 1968-69.
Pierce, who played for the Celtics for 15 seasons and was a member of their 2008 championship team before being traded to Brooklyn prior to last season, scored 16 points. He signed with Washington as a free agent during the offseason.
John Wall had 17 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds for Washington, which had won its last four.
The Celtics had opened their 25-point lead midway into the third quarter before the Wizards made a furious fourth-quarter rally behind Butler.
Washington, which struggled with its shooting, didn't get into an offensive rhythm until the beginning of the final quarter when Butler nailed three 3-pointers during a 14-3 spree that started the quarter.
Butler's final quarter — when he nailed four 3-pointers — helped the Wizards make it 94-93 with just over a minute to play.
Pierce front-rimmed a 3 before Avery Bradley nailed one from deep in the right corner for Boston with 37 seconds to play, and Green's breakaway layup sealed it.
The Celtics increased it to 63-38 on Rondo's fastbreak layup after After Bradley Beal's basket. The Celtics led 77-59 entering the final quarter.
Wizards: They were coming off a season-high 119 points in a win over Denver on Friday, but missed 14 of their initial 18 shots and scored only 15 first-quarter points. ... C/F Nene played his second straight after missing five with right plantar fascitis.
Celtics: Coach Brad Stevens likes the test his team will get facing the Wizards on consecutive days. "I think they're a legitimate contender out of the East," he said. "This is great for us to have to have to play 96 minutes in a row against this team." ... G Marcus Smart entered the game in the first quarter after being held out of Friday's game while he recovered from a sprained left ankle that sidelined him for 11 of 12.
The teams play the second of the home-and-home Monday night in Washington.