BOSTON (AP)—The Boston Celtics’ got a big lift from their bench.
Backup guard Ricky Davis converted a three-point play with 21.1 left and the Celtics overcame a 10-point deficit to beat Washington 105-101 on Sunday night for their seventh win in eight games since trading for Antoine Walker.
Paul Pierce scored 20 points for the Celtics, whose backups outscored the Wizards’ reserves 50-16. Boston finished its six-game homestand at 5-1 and won for the 16th time in its last 18 home games against Eastern Conference opponents.
With Boston down 101-99 with 28.9 seconds left, Davis drove through the lane and hit a 10-foot scoop shot and a free throw to put Boston up 102-101. Gary Payton then forced a Washington turnover on the next possession, and Tony Allen made a pair of free throws with 15.5 left to give the Celtics a 104-101 lead.
Gilbert Arenas’ 3-point try on the Wizards’ next trip down the floor rimmed out, and Payton put the Wizards away with a free throw with 9.3 seconds left.
“It was an unbelievable win for us. Our bench was phenomenal,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “I didn’t think we played great, but we won the game.”
Boston trailed 77-68 entering the fourth quarter. With most of Boston’s starters on the bench resting for the stretch run, the Celtics reserves, led by Marcus Banks and rookie Al Jefferson, keyed the comeback. Marcus Banks hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 85, and Jefferson followed with a putback dunk on the next possession to give Boston a two-point lead with 7:01 left.
“Once we (the starters) got back in the game we fed off the energy the young guys gave us,” Pierce said. “Everybody on this team has to play their part. Were a dangerous team when they do.”
With the game tied with 1:08 left, Larry Hughes stole the ball from Pierce and drove the length of the court for a layup that put the Wizards ahead 101-99, but he missed a free throw that would have given the Wizards a three-point lead.
The Celtics forced a 24-second violation to regain possession with 28.9 seconds left. Both Arenas and Wizards coach Eddie Jordan thought Arenas was fouled by Raef Lafrentz on his 3-point attempt on Washington’s second-to-last possession, but the referees never blew the whistle.
“Ricky Davis stepped up and made a play when they had to make a play. That three-point play was the difference,” Jordan said. “They got a three-point play call driving down the lane, and we didn’t get a call that probably we deserved, but that’s the name of the game.”
Washington, which led by 10 at 75-65, pulled even at 97 with 3:02 left on Arenas’ two free throws.
Hughes scored 26 points for Washington, Arenas added 25, and Jared Jeffries had 13 points and 16 rebounds. Davis, Jefferson and Allen each scored 12 points
Boston improved to 4-0 with Delonte West in the starting lineup. … After missing Washington’s last game because of tendinitis in his right knee, Antwan Jamison was a late addition to starting lineup, replacing Kwame Brown. Juan Dixon missed the game for the Wizards due to a right ankle sprain, and Anthony Peeler sat out because of a sore knee.