Wizards 112, Celtics 102
WASHINGTON (AP)—Gilbert Arenas’ performance behind the 3-point line was already impressive. Then he completed a four-point play.
Larry Hughes added 31 points for the Wizards, and shot 4-for-6 on 3-pointers.
“We play off each other pretty well,” Hughes said. “I know when it’s time to get him going and he knows when it’s time to get me going. When we’re making shots, it gets everyone else involved and allows everything to open up for us.”
The Wizards, who ended a five-game losing streak, avoided their first regular-season series sweep by Boston in more than 20 years.
“Our guards made shots in a timely fashion,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. “Larry and Gilbert took good shots—especially when they go in, they are good. We were under control and we had more poise tonight.”
Jarvis Hayes, who was activated from the injured list before the game, sparked the Wizards’ 8-0 run that gave them a 90-83 lead with 9:33 left. Hayes hit a jumper, made a steal and fed Mitchell Butler for a dunk. Kwame Brown’s hook and Hughes’ jumper capped the run.
Arenas then sealed the win with 3-pointers. He made one with 6:14 left for a 94-90 lead. He hit another to make it 101-94 at the 3:55 mark. Then he converted the four-point play over reserve Marcus Banks for a 109-99 lead with 1:25 left.
It was the Wizards’ first four-pointer since Rod Strickland converted one in 1998.
“We have more people back, so we have more options,” Arenas said. “We hit shots and won the game. And we played a little more defense at the end.”
Banks, who finished with six steals, led the Celtics with a career-high 24 points on 11-for-13 shooting in 27 minutes.
“The silver lining in the game was Marcus’ play,” Celtics coach John Carroll said. “He did a decent job in the first half and just a marvelous job in the second half.”
Paul Pierce added 17 points and tied his career-high with 13 assists. He also had seven rebounds.
“We lost the game but we gained some valuable experience for Marcus,” Pierce said. “Coming down the stretch, we understand how important he is going to be for us not only in the future, but now, and especially in the playoffs.”
With five games remaining, the Celtics hold a 2 1/2 -game lead over Cleveland for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
“We’re not paying attention to spoiling anybody’s playoff hopes,” Arenas said. “We have to just go out there and play basketball and get familiar with each other so next year it will be a smooth season.”
Banks scored 11 points and Ricky Davis had 10 in the second quarter for Boston, which led 58-53 at halftime.
“They played much better than we did,” Carroll said. “Hughes and Arenas just put on a show with their offensive game. We had our chances and just didn’t take advantage. It’s disappointing to allow a team to score 112 points and shoot 56 percent.
“That is not getting the job done, so we deserved to lose.”
The Wizards honored former players Gheorghe Muresan, Mike Riordan, Harvey Grant, Kevin Grevey and Phil Chenier as part of “Hardwood Classics Night” on The History Channel. … Chenier, who played for the Bullets from 1971-80 and has been a television analyst for 19 seasons, received anachievement award.