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Celtics beat Wizards 107-96 to end 4-game slide,

By DOUG ALDENMarch 2, 2019
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Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) makes a move against Washington Wizards center Thomas Bryant (13) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 1, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
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Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) makes a move against Washington Wizards center Thomas Bryant (13) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 1, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

BOSTON (AP) — Some late defense helped the Boston Celtics snap a four-game losing streak.

Kyrie Irving had 13 points and 12 assists, Al Horford scored 18 points and the Celtics shut down the Washington Wizards in the fourth quarter in a 107-96 victory Friday night.

Boston won for the first time since the All-Star break to avoid its first five-game skid in more than four years. The Celtics held Washington without a point for a stretch of more than forced the Wizards into seven turnovers in the fourth quarter.

“Tonight was fun for everybody. You could see that,” said Marcus Smart, who had 16 points. “Tonight the ball was popping. It was moving. We made every right play.”

Marcus Morris added 17 points and nine rebounds, and Jaylen Brown added 13 points.

Boston held Washington scoreless for more than four minutes in the fourth quarter, when the Wizards committed seven of their 18 turnovers.

“That one stretch of defense separated the game and that was fun to see,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said.

Bradley Beal had 29 points and 11 rebounds for the Wizards, and Tomas Satoransky and Jeff Green each had 15 points.

Washington had a 53-46 rebounding advantage, but couldn’t overcome the turnovers and a cold stretch in the fourth quarter.

“Turnovers were the difference. I thought we actually played a really solid defensive game against a team that’s loaded with a lot of talent,” Washington coach Scott Brooks said. “We game them so many easy opportunities.”

The Wizards lost for the fifth time in six games.

Jabari Parker hit a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer to pull the Wizards to 82-81, then opened the fourth with a 16-foot jumper.

The lead didn’t last long. After shooting 62.5 percent (15 for 24) in the third quarter, Washington opened the fourth 3 for 11 and went 4:21 without scoring.

Brown scored five points during a 9-3 run that put Boston up 91-86.

DEFENSIVE RETURNS

Boston’s defense kept the Wizards off balance through much of the fourth quarter. Washington was just 6 for 20 in the fourth quarter, getting outscored 16-8 over the final seven minutes.

“We needed to get back to this — making guys really shaky with the ball, questioning bringing the ball up against us. Just imposing our will,” Smart said. “We did that tonight and that helped us a lot. We have to continue that from here on out.”

SKID ENDS

Boston won for the first time since beating Detroit 118-110 on Feb. 13.

“I just was happy to see the effort from everyone. Guys were diving on the floor, really getting after it,” Horford said.

TIP-INS

Wizards: Entered the game three games back of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. ... Beal had 10 points in the first quarter to account for half of Washington’s scoring. ... Beal averaged 30.9 points in February while shooting 52.2 percent from the field. ... The Wizards didn’t get a field goal until Beal’s dunk with 6:16 left in the first quarter.

Celtics: Haven’t lost five straight since Nov. 21-Dec. 2, 2014. ... C Aron Baynes (foot contusion) missed his 11th straight game.

UP NEXT

Wizards: Host Minnesota on Sunday night.

Celtics: Host the Houston Rockets on Sunday.

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