January 22

NBA: Celtics outlast Wizards

Undermanned Boston earns win in overtime

WASHINGTON (AP) — Gerald Wallace made a driving layup with 2.5 seconds remaining in overtime and the undermanned Boston Celtics broke a 10-game road losing streak Wednesday night with a 113-111 win over the Washington Wizards, who wilted yet again in their long and laborious quest to get above .500.

Jeff Green scored a season-high 39 points, including career-highs in 3-pointers attempted (8) and made (16), and rookie Phil Pressey added a career-high 20 points for Boston. The Celtics played without Rajon Rando, Avery Bradley and Jerryd Bayless and blew a 19-point first-half lead before winning for only the second time in 14 games.

John Wall had 28 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his second career triple-double for the Wizards, who haven’t won a game to move above .500 since Halloween 2009. They have failed to win this season at 0-0, 9-9, 14-14, 19-19 and 20-20, and the milestone has become such a psychological hurdle that coach Randy Wittman this week had to caution against thoughts that “all of a sudden fairy dust is going to fall on us if we get over .500.”

Wall went 9 for 29 from the field and he missed a potential game-winning, contested 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime.

With Rondo sitting out the second half of a back-to-back in his return from major knee surgery and Bradley for two weeks after spraining his right ankle against the Miami Heat the night before, Boston coach Brad Stevens started a lineup consisting of a backup point guard – undrafted rookie Pressey – and four forwards.

In addition, recently acquired guard Bayless missed his second consecutive game with a sprained left big toe and is day to day. Chris Johnson and Vander Blue, both playing on 10-day contracts, played together as the Celtics’ backcourt tandem for a stretch in the second quarter.

It was the NBA debut for Blue, who was signed earlier in the day. Johnson finished with nine points.

The Wizards again came out like a team that can’t handle mediocrity, or, even worse, one that will always falter at the thought of actually becoming a winning team. They played the first half as if in slow motion, falling behind by 13 points in the first quarter while giving up open 3-pointers.

More Wizards malaise: A needless foul by Trevor Booker 90 feet from the basket allowed Kris Humphries to make a pair of free throws with 7 seconds remaining in the second quarter to give Boston a 61-43 halftime lead.

But the Celtics looked like their patchwork selves in the third quarter, committing a pair of offensive fouls during an 11-0 Wizards run. Martell Webster gave the Wizards their first lead of the game with a four-point play that made the score 88-87 with 6:37 to play in regulation, but the Celtics answered with five straight points.

The score was then tied at 92, 94, 96 and 99, and neither team could make a clutch shot in the final minute of regulation.

Pressey had made only 6 of 38 3-pointers all season, but he went 5 for 6 from 3-point range against the Wizards. His 3-pointer in the final minute of overtime gave the Celtics a 111-108 lead. He fouled out with 13.9 seconds remaining.

The Wizards tied the game when Marcin Gortat made 1 of 2 free throws with 13.9 seconds left in the extra period, but Wallace came back with the winning basket.

NOTES: Boston’s 10-game road skid was its longest since a 12-game streak in 2007. ... Booker returned after missing one game with a sprained left ankle.

Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP

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