Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 28 points, including seven in overtime, to lead the Boston Celtics in a 110-104 road victory Thursday over the Washington Wizards.
The crafty Irving consistently got to the free-throw line, where the All-Star point guard shot 9 for 10. As a team, the Celtics went 23 of 34 at the charity stripe. In comparison, the Wizards went 16 of 20 from the line.
Washington guard Bradley Beal, a first-time All-Star this season, scored 18 points, but attempted just one free throw in 44 minutes.
“It’s crazy,” Beal said of his lack of free-throw attempts. “I feel like I’m being just as aggressive as everybody else out there. My teammates were doing the same. We’ll keep attacking.”
The Wizards (31-24) defeated the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics on Christmas Day when Beal and fellow All-Star guard John Wall combined for 46 points and 16 assists. But with Wall still out after knee surgery late last month, the Celtics harassed Beal into a 7 for 27 night from the floor Thursday.
The Wizards’ 22 turnovers — eight more than the team’s season average — didn’t help.
But even with all the turnovers and facing a 10-point deficit with less than six minutes left in regulation, the Wizards rallied to take a 98-95 lead with 12.8 seconds remaining.
But Wizards power forward Markieff Morris fouled Irving during a 3-point attempt, and Irving made all three free throws to send the game into overtime. Boston outscored Washington 12-6 in the extra frame.
Otto Porter Jr. led the Wizards with 27 points and 11 rebounds, but the Celtics (40-16) had six players in double figures and outscored the Wizards’ bench 39-26.
“It’s a ‘next man up’ mentality,” said Boston forward Greg Monroe, who played in his first game Thursday as a Celtic. “Everybody trusts each other and that’s big in this league.”
Wizards head coach Scott Brooks praised the team’s resilience in the fourth quarter, but expressed his displeasure with the missed shots.
“We missed a lot of layups,” he said. “I’m assuming we probably missed 20-something shots inside the paint. That, on top of the turnovers and they made some big shots down the stretch.”
The Wizards are on the road Saturday against the Chicago Bulls and on Valentine’s Day against the New York Knicks before All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles from Feb. 16-18.