Washington, DC – Paul Pierce had 27 points, Jason Terry made two key free throws with 1.2 seconds remaining and the Boston Celtics held off the Washington Wizards, 89-86, in the opener of a home-and-home set.
Pierce also pulled down seven rebounds for the Celtics, who avoided their second straight 0-3 start. Kevin Garnett tallied 15 points and seven boards, Rajon Rondo donated 12 points and 12 assists and Jeff Green added 11 points.
"It was great," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers of the team's ability to bounce back. "When you lose two games in a row, and you play as poorly as we played last night, we're either going to come out with great intensity or we're still going to be thinking about last night and get down 20."
Jordan Crawford had 21 points to pace the Wizards, who were coming off of a 94-84 loss to Cleveland on Tuesday. Kevin Seraphin finished with 19 points and seven rebounds.
Crawford's free throw with 9:51 to play got Washington within three, 73-70. A sprained ankle forced Crawford to come out of the game for a few minutes.
Boston was able to take advantage of Crawford's absence by going on a 7-0 spurt. Garnett's free throw made it 80-70 with 8:03 left.
But the Wizards responded with a 9-2 flurry to keep things interesting. Cartier Martin's steal and layup made it an 82-79 contest with 4:54 remaining.
With Crawford back in the game, Rondo made a great play for Boston. After Seraphin blocked his shot, Rondo gathered the ball in his right hand and threw the ball towards the basket. The ball went through the hoop to give the Celtics an 84-79 edge.
Washington answered with seven straight points to take the lead. Seraphin made two free throws, Jannero Pargo made a 3-pointer and Seraphin made a 12-foot jumper to give the home team an 86-84 margin with 2:56 to go.
But Pierce made a 3-pointer at the other end to put Boston back in front.
With less than 30 seconds to play, Seraphin turned the ball over due to good defense by Garnett. However, Garnett missed a fadeaway from the foul line at the other end.
Martell Webster was way off the mark with an off-balance shot from the corner. Boston grabbed the defensive rebound and Terry made a pair of foul shots with 1.2 seconds left.
Pargo's shot from beyond halfcourt was off the mark as time expired.
"We have to play the whole 48 minutes," said Crawford. "We got too cool at certain times. We need to be aggressive on offense and defense for the entire game."
Boston started the game on a 17-2 run and held a 26-12 edge after 12 minutes of action. Despite being outscored by a 30-23 margin in the second frame, the Celtics took a 49-42 lead into the locker room.
The Wizards went on a 13-2 run late in the third quarter to make it a two- point game. Green's jumper with 5.9 seconds left gave Boston a 71-67 edge heading to the fourth.
Boston will host Washington on Wednesday ... The Celtics have won 13 of the last 16 meetings against the Wizards ... Boston forward Jared Sullinger had four points and seven rebounds in his first NBA start.