Mar 25, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics shooting guard Avery Bradley (0) drives to the hoop against Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (2) during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

Celtics 88, Wizards 76: Avery Bradley Leads Boston Past Washington

Avery Bradley scored 15 points in the first quarter and finished with a career-high 23 points as the Boston Celtics toppled the Washington Wizards, 88-76, minus an injured Ray Allen on Sunday evening at TD Garden in Boston, MA.

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Celtics 88, Wizards 76: Avery Bradley's Career Night Leads Boston

BOSTON - Avery Bradley's name was not exactly at the front of the list of players expected to step up their game in the absence of an injured Ray Allen. But that didn't stop him from playing the best offensive game of his career, as he scored a career-high 23 to lead the Boston Celtics past the Washington Wizards, 88-76, on Sunday at TD Garden.

"One of the things I've said consistently all year is that he can shoot the ball and he was making me a liar for most of the year. It was great to see him go in," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers about his second-year reserve. "I thought there was a point it was clearly confidence because you see him in practice and he makes them, then he gets in the game and he just needed one to fall and that's the other thing we kept saying, so that was good."

Bradley's red-hot start came as a complete surprise, considering that he's averaging 4.4 points this season. Nevertheless, Bradley didn't miss for an entire quarter, connecting on his first seven shots to score 15 points in the opening quarter, helping give the Celts a 27-12 lead after twelve minutes. Washington shot just 14 percent in the quarter (3-for-22).

"My main focus is to play hard on the defensive end," said Bradley, who had three boards and one steal. "I was fortunate enough that my teammates could find me in transition."

The young defensive specialist would only score four points in the second, and the Wizards would improve slightly on the offensive end after bottoming out at 12 percent shooting during the period. Paul Pierce scored eight in the quarter on 3-of-6 shooting after being held without a point through the 5:21 mark of the frame. Pierce would finish with 21 points.

"He was awesome for us tonight," Pierce said of Bradley. "He gave us a big lift, especially with the injuries we have right now to Ray (Allen) and Mickael (Pietrus), who would fill up the two guard role ... He's just gaining more and more confidence as the year goes on."

Bradley made the first bucket of the third quarter, giving him a new career-high in points with 21. Washington went on a 13-0 run in a three-minute span after that to trim its deficit to eight points, 55-47, before Boston went on an 8-0 run to recapture the momentum. Washington nearly made it a single-digit deficit in the fourth before finally falling.

"I mean we fought," Wizards interim head coach Randy Wittman said about his team's second half. "There was no fight in the first five minutes of that game. That was lay-up drill with no defense. I don't know why it happened. We responded in the second half. We can't afford to give up starts like that. We brought it to eight with the ball, I think. That's a positive. Obviously losing and the way we started the game was definitely not a positive."

Brandon Bass had 11 points and seven boards and Kevin Garnett and Greg Stiemsma each scored 10 as Boston shot 48.6 percent on 34-of-70 shooting. Jordan Crawford scored 20 and Kevin Seraphin had 15 points to lead Washington, which was held to 34 percent. John Wall was held to just 12 points and nine assists in over 38 minutes.

"They just started off with great defense," said Wall, who hasn't scored 20 or more since March 18. "We just didn't do a great job of moving the ball as a team. Taking bad shots. They executed, getting whatever they wanted offensively. They just got a big lead."

Boston heads out to face the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday before it returns home to face the Utah Jazz on Wednesday and facing the Minnesota Timberwolves on the road Friday.

AUDIO: Avery Bradley Postgame (3-25-12) | AUDIO: Paul Pierce Postgame (3-25-12)


Final - 3.25.2012 1 2 3 4 Total
Washington Wizards 12 22 21 21 76
Boston Celtics 27 26 16 19 88

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For more Celtics and Wizards coverage, visit our blogs, CelticsBlog and Bullets Forever.

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Celtics Vs. Wizards Halftime Score: Avery Bradley, C's Lead 53-34 At Halftime

BOSTON - Avery Bradley's dominant first quarter and the Washington Wizards' lack of interest in competing played a big role in the first half as the Boston Celtics took a 53-34 advantage into the locker room at the intermission on Sunday at TD Garden.

Bradley scored 15 of his 19 points in the first quarter and started the game 7-for-7 from the floor. After one quarter, Bradley had more points than the Wizards' shooting percentage (14), and the Celtics led 27-12. Bradley didn't score for the final 7:05 of the first quarter and would not score again until the 3:58 mark in the second when he made two free throws. Greg Stiemsma was the only other Celtic to reach double-digit scoring with 10 points.

Kevin Seraphin led all Wizards scorers with 11 points and also had six rebounds.



For more Celtics and Wizards coverage, visit our blogs, CelticsBlog and Bullets Forever.

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Celtics Vs. Wizards: Ray Allen, Mickael Pietrus Out; Bradley Starts

BOSTON - Finally back at home after a lengthy road trip, the Boston Celtics are slated to face the Washington Wizards at 6 p.m. EDT on Sunday night. Unfortunately, they will be doing so without Ray Allen and Mickael Pietrus.

Allen is day-to-day with a sore right ankle, an injury which Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said he did not know the severity of in his pregame address to the media. Pietrus, meanwhile, suffered from a scary concussion during the second quarter of Friday night's loss to the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. Pietrus is day-to-day, and Rivers didn't have any updates on his condition.

Avery Bradley, the second-year reserve guard, gets the start over Sasha Pavlovic and Marquis Daniels, mainly because Rivers was looking to plug in more of a two-guard. Rivers also said he liked the matchup of Bradley against Jordan Crawford. More news and notes in both coaches' pregame interviews, which can be heard below.

AUDIO: Doc Rivers Pregame Interview (3-25-12)

AUDIO: Randy Whittman Pregame Interview (3-25-12)



For more Celtics and Wizards coverage, visit our blogs, CelticsBlog and Bullets Forever.

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Celtics Vs. Wizards: Boston Returns Home After Wearing Road Trip

Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics (25-22) return home from their wearing eight-game West coast road trip to host the writhing Washington Wizards (11-36) at 6:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday night at TD Garden in Boston, MA (CSNNE/WEEI).

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