WASHINGTON (AP) — The Boston Celtics were tired from playing the night before and so undermanned that they resorted to a 10-day-contract backcourt for part of the game.
The Washington Wizards were again trying to erase the stigma of mediocrity. Surely, against this Celtics lineup, this would be the night they would end their long and laborious quest to get above .500.
Never mind. The Celtics won. Jeff Green put the team on his shoulders and scored a season-high 39 points, while the Wizards wilted with a display of selfish basketball. Boston blew a 19-point first-half lead, but Gerald Wallace made a driving layup with 2.5 seconds remaining in overtime Wednesday night for the 113-111 victory that snapped a 10-game road losing streak.
"Lot of reasons to give up," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "And they didn't do that."
Green shot early and often, finishing with career-highs in 3-pointers attempted (16) and made (8). Rookie Phil Pressey added a career-high 20 points. The Celtics played without Rajon Rando, Avery Bradley and Jerryd Bayless and at one point had Chris Johnson and Vander Blue, both on 10-day contracts, on the floor together in the second quarter.
"I just put myself in the position where I had to be the man to carry the team and shoot the ball," Green said. "So that's what I did."
John Wall had 28 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his second career triple-double for Washington, but he went 9 for 29 from the field and missed a potential game-winning, contested 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime.
The Wizards haven't won a game to move above .500 since Halloween 2009 and have failed to win this season at 0-0, 9-9, 14-14, 19-19 and 20-20. The milestone has become such a psychological hurdle that coach Randy Wittman this week had to caution against thoughts that "all of a sudden fairy dust is going to fall on us if we get over .500."
This time Wittman was angry because he said his players came down with a case of "I got mine," looking to pad their stats against a team that was supposed to be easy pickings.
"I can get mine because who are we playing?" Wittman said forcefully. "You cannot screw with the basketball gods like that. It always comes back to get you. ... Every player in this league can play. They're in the NBA. Every player can play. And if you don't give them the respect, this is what happens."