C's Lose for 2nd Time in Three Games?


C's Lose for 2nd Time in Three Games

WASHINGTON - After a long, successful ride, the Celtics finally hit a roadblock.

Boston's road winning streak was snapped at 10 with an 85-78 loss to the Wizards at the Verizon Center last night. The Celtics (30-5) lost for the second time in three games for the first time this season. Boston is 14-3 on the road after enduring their first road loss since Nov. 27 at Cleveland.

The Celtics' star trio of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce was held in check as they combined for 42 points on 15-of-40 shooting; they shot only 11 free throws. Boston was outrebounded, 49-30, gave up 26 second-chance points, and allowed 30 points in the paint. The Celtics' road winning streak tied for the second longest in franchise history.

A "Let's go, Celtics" chant rang loud through the arena early in the fourth quarter. But two free throws by Washington's Caron Butler tied the game at 68 with 6:27 remaining and fired up the home fans. A 3-pointer by James Posey gave Boston a 71-68 lead with 5:17 left and the Celtics chant started again. Another 3-pointer by Posey gave Boston a 74-70 lead with 3:56 remaining.

After missing 15 of their first 16 3-pointer attempts, Antonio Daniels nailed a 3-pointer to give Washington a 75-74 lead with 1:51 remaining. After being fouled by Pierce on a 3-pointer attempt, DeShawn Stevenson made all three free throws to give Washington a 78-74 lead with 1:14 left. After two missed Boston 3-pointers, Brendan Haywood made one of two free throws with 34.2 seconds left to make it 79-74.

Garnett made one of two free throws with 27.5 seconds left to slice Boston's deficit to 79-75. Butler nailed two free throws with 22.1 seconds left to give Washington an 81-75 lead. Pierce nailed a 3-pointer with 15.8 seconds left to make it 81-78. But Stevenson helped seal the Wizards win with two free throws with 15 seconds remaining.

Celtics guard Rajon Rondo missed the game with a back injury he suffered Friday night at New Jersey. Tony Allen started in Rondo's place, his fifth start of the season. Rookie point guard Gabe Pruitt was activated. Celtics coach Doc Rivers said his team was limited in the offensive sets it could run without Rondo.

The Wizards were also without three-time NBA All-Star guard Gilbert Arenas, who has been out indefinitely since having left knee surgery Nov. 21. Washington is now 16-11 without Arenas.

Tony Allen wasn't in the game long in the first quarter as he picked up his second foul with 9:18 remaining and Boston up, 4-3. Allen went to the bench and was replaced by sharpshooting Eddie House. A House jumper sliced Washington's lead to 14-12 with 4:13 left in the first. A 3-pointer by House brought Boston within 19-17 with 54 seconds left. A Darius Songalia 20-footer gave the Wizards a 23-19 lead with three seconds left in the first.

A House 3-pointer tied the game at 27 with 8:08 left in the second quarter. Washington went on an 8-0 run to take a 35-27 lead with 5:26 left in the half. The Celtics responded with a 9-1 run to trim their deficit to 37-36 after two free throws by Tony Allen. Paul Pierce's 18-foot jumper with 1.9 seconds before halftime brought Boston within 41-40. The Celtics outscored the Wizards, 21-18, in the second.

Celtics forward Kevin Garnett had 12 points and his team shot 46.9 percent in the first half. Washington shot 33.3 percent from the field, but scored 15 second-chance points off 13 offensive rebounds. The Wizards outrebounded Boston, 26-12, in the half.

Boston opened the third quarter with a 7-0 run, capped by a Garnett free throw at the 9:17 mark to take a 47-41 lead. Garnett's lean-in dunk on a fast break gave the Celtics a 58-59 lead. Ray Allen's 3-pointer with 3:18 left in the period gave Boston a 61-52 lead. Kendrick Perkins's dunk with 21.3 seconds left gave the Celtics a 65-60 lead. Boston outscored the Wizards, 25-19, in the third quarter as both teams made 7 of 16 shots.

The Celtics, however, nailed two 3-pointers and nine free throws.

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