Rajon Rondo notched his third double-double in as many games as the Boston Celtics won their first game of the season, beating the Washington Wizards, 89-86, on Saturday in Washington, DC.
Paul Pierce dropped in 27 points as Kevin Garnett added 15 for Celtics.
With the lead in doubt, and the Wizards only trailing by three in the fourth quarter, Pierce returned to the game and his eight fourth-quarter points helped to put Washington away.
Thanks to a quick start in the first quarter, the Celtics controlled the pace and led throughout most of the contest. Boston didn't trail until there was just over two minutes remaining in the fourth, when the Wizards took a brief lead before a Pierce three-point shot helped propel the Celtics.
Without point guard John Wall or center Nene, Washington relied heavily on bench players Jordan Crawford and Kevin Seraphin. Crawford led the Wizards with 21 points before injuring his left foot in the fourth quarter. Seraphin didn't miss a shot until the fourth quarter, connecting on his first seven shots. The reserve forward, Seraphin, finished with 19 points.
Despite an awful season-opener, Celtics forward Jeff Green played significant minutes for the second night in a row, notching a bench-high 11 points.
Boston rookie Jared Sullinger got the first start of his young career, scoring four points and snagging seven boards over 30 minutes. The man whose place Sullinger took in the starting lineup Saturday, Brandon Bass, connected on 2-of-6 shooting, scoring five points and grabbing five rebounds over 28 minutes.
Boston shot 42 percent from the field, allowing Washington to connect on 43 percent of their shots. For the first time in this early season, the Celtics forced more turnovers than they gave away, forcing 15, while giving away only nine.
The Celtics will get another crack at the Wizards Wednesday night, when Washington travels to the TD Garden to match up with Boston at 7:30 pm E.T.
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