EditorsNote: corrects Rozier’s rebound total
Beal, Oubre Jr. spark Wizards to Christmas Day win vs. Celtics
BOSTON -- Scott Brooks felt his Washington Wizards took an important step -- backward -- at TD Garden on Monday.
“I thought this was as close as we’ve played this year (to) as we did last year,” the Washington coach said after the Wizards hung a 111-103 holiday defeat on the Boston Celtics.
”Everybody was locked in during timeouts, so whatever they did before the game we need to keep doing it,“ Brooks said. ”It’s obviously a special environment to be playing -- Christmas Day -- but you have to do this for 82 games and not let the ups and downs of a long season control your emotions or your energy.
“I thought tonight was as good as we can possibly play.”
The Wizards (19-15) blew an 11-point third-quarter lead and trailed by five after a long Kyrie Irving 3-pointer with 6:17 left.
But John Wall hit a tough jumper on Irving and Kelly Oubre Jr. and Bradley Beal both scored five straight points in a 12-0 run over just 2:06 -- part of a 21-8 charge down the stretch.
With both teams going small, the Wizards controlled the glass -- the home team failing to get a defensive rebound for the final 6:56 -- and forced the Celtics into turnovers.
“Obviously, didn’t play great offense, had a couple rim out but also had a couple of turnovers,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said when asked about the 12-0 spurt. “And then, I thought their best players were comfortable all night.”
Beal scored 25 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Wall had 21 points, 14 assists and five boards. Otto Porter Jr. scored 20 points while Oubre posted 16 points and five rebounds off the bench. Markieff Morris had 14 points and seven rebounds and Marcin Gortat 11 points and 10 boards.
“It was great,” said Beal. “We played great for 48 minutes.”
Brooks singled out the work of Morris and Oubre.
“You can always look at John and Brad and how well they play and how many big plays they make,” Brooks said, “but you win the games with your other guys stepping up in big moments and I thought those two guys were a huge part of our win.”
Oubre was suspended for one game for charging at then-Celtic Kelly Olynyk in Game 3 of last year’s seven-game Eastern Conference semifinal. He was of little use the rest of the series.
”I felt a little nostalgic out there,“ he said. ”It brought me back to the playoffs and all the good memories we have in here -- the fans chanting crazy stuff, it just brought me back to a place where it got me locked in. It was the playoffs atmosphere out here.
“Just kinda redeem ourselves, especially on Christmas.”
Good memories? The Wizards had lost nine straight games at TD Garden.
It was the first time the Celtics (27-10 but 5-6 the last 11 games) played at home on Christmas, and they were fighting an uphill battle throughout. They wiped out the deficit before the Wizards (19-15) caught fire.
Wall moved into fourth place on the team’s all-time scoring list and had at least 13 assists for the 24th time this season.
Irving and Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 20 points apiece. Terry Rozier had 16 points and seven rebounds, Al Horford collected 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists and Marcus Smart added 10 points. Jaylen Brown, who was limping and didn’t finish the game, had eight points and nine rebounds in the loss.
Stevens had no update on Brown.
Last season, the teams played 11 games, including playoffs, the Celtics winning all six and the Wizards all five on their home floors.
Boston’s Marcus Morris returned after missing nine games with a knee injury. He could miss more during his rehab, but returned and played against his brother. Marcus Morris had two points and four rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench.
NOTES: G Isaiah Thomas, close to returning to action for the Cleveland Cavaliers, criticized the Celtics for misleading him on his hip injury. “If I went back and could do it again, I would’ve sat out the playoffs, because I would’ve been playing right now,” he told ESPN. “I would’ve been 100 percent healthy. I do wish I had more information. It was never, this could be something that could possibly shut you down for a while. Because if that were the case, I definitely wouldn’t have played.” ... Boston G Shane Larkin returned after missing two games with a knee injury. ... Gordon Hayward, expected to miss the season for Boston, addressed the Christmas Day crowd pre-game. ... New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski sat courtside, near the Washington bench, wearing a Santa hat. ... The Wizards visit Atlanta and the Celtics are at Charlotte Wednesday night.