Celtics win opener vs. Wizards and cover; total goes Over
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BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics spotted Washington the first 16 points of the game and then roared to a 123-111 victory over the Wizards in the first game of the Eastern Conference semifinals Sunday.
Top-seeded Boston, winning its fifth straight playoff game after losing the first two games of the first round, both at home to the Chicago Bulls, trailed 22-5 just 5 1/2 minutes into the game. But the Celtics caught up in the second quarter, stayed close and then exploded in a 36-point third quarter to lead by 15 after three before holding off a Washington charge.
The Celtics covered the 4.5 spread and the total of 234 was well over the closing total of 216 at the South Point in Las Vegas. Boston was a -190 favorite on the moneyline.
Game 2 in Tuesday night at TD Garden.
Isaiah Thomas, who flew from Chicago to Tacoma, Wash., to attend the funeral of his sister, Chyna, on Saturday before flying back late Saturday night, scored 12 of his 33 points and Jae Crowder 11 of his playoff career-high 24 in the 36-16 third quarter.
Thomas, who gave an emotional speech at the funeral, lost a tooth to an Otto Porter inadvertent elbow in the first half -- the tooth flying up into the air before Thomas, who finished with nine assists, wound up picking it up off the floor.
Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 27 points.
Boston jumped ahead by six and then used a 9-0 run over the final 3:08 of the quarter to up the lead to 15.
The Wizards scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter but the game then belonged to Al Horford, who scored 10 of his 21 points in a 3:25 span to ensure the win. Boston made five of its 19 3-pointers (in 39 attempts) in a four-minute span late in the contest.
Horford, who had no points or rebounds and just one assist in the first quarter, just missed a triple-double, finishing with 21 points, nine rebounds and a career playoff-high 10 assists.
Avery Bradley added 18 points for the Celtics, who got all 12 of Kelly Olynyk's points in the first half as Olynyk came off the bench to help dig his team out of the hole. Guard Terry Rozier grabbed eight rebounds off the bench.
John Wall had 20 and 16 assists for the Wizards. Marcin Gortat recorded 16 points and 13 rebounds and Otto Porter contributed 16 points and 11 boards.
Washington's Markieff Morris suffered a left ankle sprain after being fouled by Horford in the second quarter. He stayed in the game after a long delay, left with 7:16 remaining in the second quarter and didn't return.
The 16-0 start was the biggest in the playoffs dating back to at least 2002-03, according to STATS Inc., as the Wizards grabbed the first 12 rebounds and Boston opened 0-for-8 from the floor.
The win marked Boston's 56th straight playoff win when entering the fourth quarter -- dating all the way back to 1973.
NOTES: The Celtics became the eighth team in NBA history, the first in this year's postseason, to have back-to-back games with at least 15 3-pointers. ... The Wizards were missing C Ian Mahinmi (calf) while F/C Jason Smith (calf) was available after playing 11 minutes Friday night, entered in the first quarter and scored five points in his nine minutes. ... Celtics PG Isaiah Thomas improved to 13-3 head to head against Washington PG John Wall. ... Boston G Avery Bradley changed shoes with his team down 9-0. ... Wizards coach Scott Brooks, asked pregame about previous rough stuff between the teams, said, "It's not going to be 90s basketball. Those days are done. And they're not coming back. And thank goodness they're not." ... Sunday marked the first playoff game between the teams in Boston since April 19, 1984. The then-Bullets had a double-digit lead after one quarter in that game and lost that one, too.
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