"Our defense put us in the situation to get where we were at," Celtics guard Rajon Rondo said. "We didn't shoot the ball well tonight. We had a lot of easy shots we missed. We can't control that, but what we can control is our effort on the defensive end and we did that tonight."
Rondo had 12 points — including two on an acrobatic, one-handed push that he likened to a shot put — and 12 assists, while Garnett scored 15.
Wall has a knee injury and is expected to miss another month or so, while Nene is out with a foot problem and no one is quite sure when he'll be back. Both are really missed on offense, which was apparent not only with the way Washington opened the game, but also by checking the assists column on the stat sheet: The starting five combined for a grand total of one assist in the first half.
Yes, the Wizards got points less than 1½ minutes in, but that was because Garnett was called for goaltending on a short shot by Emeka Okafor. Otherwise, Washington missed 13 of its first 14 field-goal attempts. That run of futility included shanked 3-pointers and midrange jumpers, layups and putbacks. Even a dunk.
Rondo's 19-foot jumper put Boston ahead 17-2 with a little less than 4½ minutes left in the first quarter. By then, three Celtics — Garnett, Pierce and rookie Jared Sullinger — each had at least twice as many points as the entire Wizards roster.
A day after losing by 11 at home to Milwaukee, the Celtics led by as much as 24-8 before Washington made a game of it.
"When you lose two games in a row and you play as poorly as we played last night, you're either going to come out with great intensity or we're still going to be thinking about last night and get down 20," Rivers said. "That cushion won the game for us."
NOTES: Sullinger, the Ohio State forward taken in the first round of the draft, made his first NBA start, replacing Brandon Bass in Boston's lineup. Sullinger ended up with four points and four fouls. ... The teams play each other again Wednesday at Boston.
Howard Fendrich is on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich