Irving, Brown lead Celtics to OT win over Wizards
WASHINGTON — Two days after Boston lost to the team chasing the Celtics atop the Eastern Conference standings, guard Kyrie Irving wasn't about to let his team suffer another defeat.
Irving scored 12 of Boston's last 17 points and finished with 28 to help the Celtics remain in sole possession of the East lead with a 110-104 overtime victory over the Washington Wizards on Thursday night (Friday Manila time).
"Every game for us is a learning experience, and it's almost like a 'must-win," Irving said after his second game back from a thigh injury. "Just based on the amount of expectations and what we put on ourselves and one another on a game-to-game basis."
Jaylen Brown added five of his 18 points in overtime for Boston. The Celtics have won five of six, and remained a game ahead of Toronto in the race for the East's top playoff seed after the Raptors' win over New York earlier Thursday. The Raptors beat the Celtics 111-91 in Toronto on Tuesday.
Otto Porter had 27 points and 11 rebounds for Washington, and Bradley Beal had 18 points and matched his career high with nine assists.
But as John Wall remains sidelined following knee surgery, the Wizards committed 22 turnovers and shot just 2 for 12 in the overtime period, dropping their second straight game after winning five straight.
Beal, who shot just 7 of 27 and took only one foul shot, suggested officiating played a role.
"It's crazy," he said of his lack of free throws. "Because I feel like I'm being just as aggressive as everybody else out there. My teammates are doing the same. Sometimes we don't get rewarded."
Meanwhile, Irving went 9 of 10 from the foul line. And after Boston allowed Washington to come back from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit, he tied it from the line with 9.8 seconds remaining in regulation on three made foul shots after luring Markieff Morris into a foul on a 3-point attempt.
"Nowhere near a foul," Morris said. "(The referee) was behind me. I don't know how could see me swiping down on the ball and me hitting his arm. If I hit his arm, there's no way he would get the shot up."
Said Irving: "I just don't want to get into the whole 'whether it was a foul or not.' I don't want to get fined."
That was part of 10 straight points for Irving before finding Brown for a layup that made it 105-103 with 2:32 left in overtime.
Brown stretched the lead to five when he hit a contested baseline 3-pointer less than a minute later, and the Wizards missed their last five shots.