BOSTON — The Boston Celtics roared out of the gate with a 40-point first quarter and ended a three-game losing streak by cruising to a 118-98 win over the Washington Wizards on Friday night.
The Celtics, who scored a combined 29 points in their previous two first quarters combined, shot 65.4 percent from the floor in the quarter and went on to finish the first half with 72 points and a 61.2 percent shooting percentage.
After leading by as many as 30 in the first half, the Celtics (2-3) saw the lead drop to 14, open back up to 22 and the sink to 15.But Boston hit its first six 3-point attempts of the quarter — two each by guards Avery Bradley and forwards Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk — to keep the Wizards (3-2) from getting too close.
The home team maintained control in the fourth quarter, even though the Celtics didn’t hit a field goal until there was 4:43 left.
Sullinger scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds while Olynyk came off the bench with 19 points, seven boards and four assists. Guards Isaiah Thomas and Evan Turner, the latter coming off the bench, each scored 16 points, Thomas with eight assists and Turner six rebounds.
One down note for Boston: forward Jae Crowder, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds left the game with 3:17 left with an apparent left knee injury suffered driving to the basket. He was helped to the locker room by Sullinger.
Guard Bradley Beal led the Wizards, who turned the ball over 24 times, with 24 points and five rebounds and fellow guard John Wall had 13 points, eight assists and five rebounds. Wall was just 6 of 17 from the floor, 0 of 3 from 3-point range.
The Celtics were 12 of 21 from 3-point range but missed their last nine shots from behind the arc. It didn’t matter.
NOTES: Celtics G Marcus Smart missed his second straight game with a sprained left big toe, arriving at TD Garden with the foot in a boot. His absence created a matchup problem against the guard-rich Wizards. “It’s day to day,” coach Brad Stevens said before the game. “The bottom line is, the ultimate factor in deciding whether he can play or not is, ‘Can he push off of (the foot)?’ He couldn’t push off of it at all on Wednesday; he’s pushing off of it much better now, but there’s no reason to put extra stress on it by walking without a boot.” … Bradley Beal and John Wall, the reason that Washington is so guard-rich, came into the game 1-2 in the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring. Beal, whose last-second 3-pointer defeated the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night, was leading the league at 10.3 points per game in the first four fourth quarters. Wall was second at 8.8. … Boston F Amir Johnson started despite tweaking an ankle on Wednesday night.
Cavaliers 108, 76ers 102
CLEVELAND — LeBron James scored 31 points, had 13 assists and reached another milestone in Cleveland’s 108-102 victory over Philadelphia on Friday night, the Cavaliers’ second win over the 76ers this week.
Cavs forward Kevin Love had 12 points and 14 rebounds, center Timofey Mozgov scored 13 points and guard Mo Williams added 16 points and eight assists. Forward Richard Jefferson came off the bench to score 17 points.
Sixers forward Nerlens Noel posted his third double-double of the season with 18 points and 12 rebounds, rookie Jahlil Okafor scored 18 points and guard Isaiah Canaan came off the bench to score 17 points for the Sixers, who led at the half.
James became the 20th player in NBA history with 9,000 career field goals. He reached the milestone on a dunk in the first half — just as he reached the 25,000-point club on Monday against the Sixers on a dunk in Philadelphia. He is now one of five active players with 9,000 baskets, joining Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki.
James began the season in a 1-of-16 shooting funk from 3-point range after he shot just 23 percent on 3-point shots during last season’s playoffs. He has never been a prolific 3-point shooter but made three in the third quarter on Friday and has now hit four of his last seven after the tough start to the season.
The Cavaliers have been plagued by slow, sloppy starts in each of their previous two games.
The Sixers led 32-18 after the first quarter on Monday, and starting faster was a point of emphasis Friday. The Cavs raced out to a 10-point lead in the first quarter, but the Sixers’ subs fought back against the Cavs’ reserves to take a 50-49 lead at the break.
The Sixers shot 52 percent from the field on Friday and were hanging around until Cavs reserve forward Tristan Thompson grabbed two offensive rebounds on the same possession early in the fourth quarter.
James ultimately converted on a three-point play, extending the Cavs’ lead to 87-79 with 9:37 left. He took a hard fall while driving to the basket on the Cavs’ next possession and limped to the bench during a timeout. He was able to stay in the game and later zipped a cross-court bounce pass to Jefferson to extend the lead late in the fourth quarter.