Playing a rare home game on Christmas, Celtics fall to Washington
Bradley Beal scored 25 points, John Wall had 21 points and 14 assists, and the Wizards beat Boston 111-103 on Monday in the Celtics' first Christmas Day home game in franchise history.
"For us to get a win, that was big time," Wall said. "Playing against a great team, one of the hottest teams in the league. They've been in a slump lately, but it's a team that we know we might have to battle later on, and to get a win it was great."
Otto Porter Jr. added 20 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. finished with 16, helping Washington take the first meeting between the teams since Boston's Game 7 victory at home in the second round of the playoffs last spring.
"I felt a little nostalgic out there," Oubre said. "It brought me back to the playoffs and all the good memories that we have in here. The fans chanting crazy stuff, it just brought me back to a place where you know it got me locked in man, like it was the playoffs, so it was a great atmosphere out there."
Eastern Conference-leading Boston lost for the third time in four games. Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum each scored 20 points for the Celtics, and Terry Rozier had 16.
The Celtics are 11-8 since opening the season 16-2.
"It hasn't been one of the best stretches for us, but we have a resilient group," Irving said. "That right there is enough for us to go on and make progress in the right direction."
Boston forward Al Horford thinks it's just a normal course of a season.
"You go through ups and downs in a season," he said. "Tonight, I felt good about our chances. We put ourselves in position to win the game and we weren't able to do it."
Boston opened a 95-90 lead on Irving's 3-pointer with 6:18 left, but the Wizards responded with a 12-0 run. Beal capped the spurt with a three-point play and a breakaway dunk off a turnover.
Wall added a layup and two free throws down the stretch to help Washington hold on
Last season, the teams had a testy rivalry with lots of trash-talking and a few games filled with hard fouls. It was more civil on Monday, just a tight defensive game with numerous contested shots and a few hard screens.
The Wizards led by two at halftime and opened the third quarter by scoring 13 of the first 17 points, pulling ahead 65-54 on Marcin Gortat's three-point play. Gortat had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Wizards: It was Gortat's ninth double-double this season. ... Wall was scoreless in the opening quarter.
Celtics: F Marcus Morris returned after missing 10 of the last 11 games with a sore left knee. ... Reserve F Semi Ojeleye missed the game with a sore back after he tested it during pregame warmups. . Jaylen Brown left the arena with one crutch and appeared to favoring his left leg.
The Celtics played for the 31st time on Christmas, with 28 of the previous games on the road and the other two at neutral sites before Monday.
"As much fun as it is to be with family, this is what our family does," Boston coach Brad Stevens said. "We've been in gyms for most Christmases of our lives, so it's really fun to get a chance to compete on Christmas Day."
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was seated courtside wearing a Santa hat. He got a huge ovation when he was shown on the videoboard.
Morris brothers Marcus (Boston) and Markieff (Wizards) were matched up against each other a few times. At one point, it looked as if they were both smiling when Marcus missed a jumper over his brother.
Injured forward Gordon Hayward walked out to center court before the game and wished the fans a merry Christmas and happy holidays on behalf of the Celtics' organization.
Wizards: At the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.
Celtics: At the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday. Boston won the previous game between the teams on Nov. 10 at home.
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