Toronto Star

Wizards make easy work of Celtics


WASHINGTON— Earlier this month, the Washington Wizards frittered away a 23-point lead against the Boston Celtics but hung on for a gruelling double-overtime win.

There was no repeat Saturday night.

The Wizards ran off 13 consecutiv­e points and took a 15-2 lead in the game’s first four minutes on the way to beating the Celtics 101-88.

Boston, which has lost four in a row, is a much different team from the one that dropped that wild 133-132 decision. The Celtics traded longtime point guard Rajon Rondo to Dallas on Dec. 18, and are struggling to find their way.

“They weren’t going to let us back tonight,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “You could feel it, you could see it.”

Kris Humphries who played for Stevens last season, led Washington — which has won eight of10 — with18 points. Paul Pierce, the former Celtic, had 17.

With Rondo gone, none of Pierce’s teammates who won a championsh­ip with him in 2007-08 remain.

“They moved on. They’re in a rebuild phase,” Pierce said. “It’s a new era now.”

These Celtics were led by Jeff Green with 23. Jared Sullinger, who twisted his right ankle late in the game, wasn’t pleased with Boston’s lack of aggression.

“Teams are just coming out and smacking us in the mouth. People feel like we’re sweet, we’re soft. We’ve just got to play tough,” Sullinger said.

The Wizards begin a five-game road trip on Monday in Houston, with stops in Dallas, Oklahoma City, San Antonio and New Orleans.

“It is a test. We get a chance to play against some of the upper-echelon Western Conference teams. It will be a great measuring stick of where we are. We know we’re one of the upperechel­on teams in the East,” Pierce said. “This is an opportunit­y with the East being wide open for us to get to the finals. It gives us an opportunit­y to gauge where we are as an elite team in the league.”

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