Wizards rally behind Ariza’s barrage

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Wizards rally behind Ariza’s barrage

The Washington Wizards didn’t get flustered when they trailed by 18 points. The Boston Celtics couldn’t hold a big lead for the second straight game. Trevor Ariza scored 27 points capped by a 3-pointer that highlighted a fourth-quarter run as the Wizards rallied for a 106-99 victory Saturday.

“We don’t let anything rattle us too much,” Ariza said. “We just play and chip away and know things are going to happen. It’s a long game. We know teams can go on runs. They went on a run and we did, too.”

After Jeff Green’s layup with 6:14 left gave the Celtics a 92-84 lead, they went nearly six minutes without a field goal. Meanwhile, the Wizards were going on a 14-1 run that Ariza started with a jumper from the right corner. John Wall had five of his 20 points in the surge, which was interrupted only by a free throw by Jared Sullinger that gave Boston a 93-91 lead with 3:39 remaining.

“It was just, ‘OK. We fought back. Let’s get some stops here and keep going. Keep stepping on them and let’s runaway with this one,’” Ariza said.

Nene tied it with a short baseline jumper, and Wall gave the Wizards their first lead, 95-93, with a 20-footer with 2:51 to go. Marcin Gortat then blocked Sullinger’s shot and Ariza hit his 3-pointer with 2:25 remaining to put Washington ahead 98-93.

The Celtics had led 32-14 early in the second quarter. But in the last six minutes of the game, they were outscored 22-7, committed four turnovers and had two shots blocked.

“They came out and punched us right in the face in the first quarter,” Washington Coach Randy Wittman said, “but I never saw any downness from our guys.”

Avery Bradley, an outstanding defender, scored 18 of his 26 points for Boston in a span of 8:01 in the second half. He started with a layup with 4:01 left in the third quarter that gave the Celtics a 66-59 lead and ended with a jumper with 8:00 left in the fourth that made it 88-82.

AP

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