THE FACTS: Paul Pierce scored 27 points including the go-ahead 3-pointer and the Boston Celtics turned up their defensive effort late for their first win of the season, 89-86 over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night.
Rajon Rondo finished with 12 points and 12 assists while Kevin Garnett scored 15 points and spearheaded the defensive effort throughout. After letting several double-digit leads slip away including a 10-point edge in the fourth quarter, the Celtics (1-2) held Washington scoreless over the final 2:56.
Jordan Crawford led the Wizards (0-2) with 21 points and Kevin Seraphin scored 19, including consecutive hook shots that put Washington up 86-84. Pierce countered with his fourth 3-pointer of the game and Jason Terry capped the scoring with two free throws with 1.2 second remaining.
QUOTABLE: "I thought we came out with great defensive energy. As the game went on we got tired; defense is exhausting. I thought overall we did a great job of it ... We had to get stops at the end, four straight times. That's nice."
-- Celtics coach Doc Rivers, whose team opened the game with a 17-2 run
THE STAT: During the first quarter Washington shot 21.1 percent (4 of 19) including misses on 12 of its initial 13 attempts. The Wizards found a rhythm for stretches of the final three quarters, but played catch up throughout.
QUOTABLE II: "Our starts are so bad, you don't know if you're ever going to see daylight again. I didn't know if the ... sun was coming up tomorrow. I truly didn't. That's how bad it was to me, sitting there."
-- Wizards coach Randy Wittman
HOT: Out since Oct. 13 with a calf strain, Washington's Seraphin sparked a lackluster offense with eight of his 19 points coming in the second quarter. The rising third-year center finished 8-for-9, hitting several shots against Garnett.
NOT: Wizards rookie Bradley Beal, the third overall pick in the 2012 draft, missed all five of his shots and is 2-for-13 on the season.
QUOTABLE III: "[Seraphin] had a good game. He clearly worked on his game and I was a bit shocked they were going to him. At the end, I was able to D-up and he threw it out of bounds."
-- Garnett, who forced Seraphin into a turnover in the closing minutes.
GOOD MOVE: Rivers shook up his starting lineup by inserting powerful rookie Jared Sullinger in place of Brandon Bass. Sullinger made both of his field goals in the pivotal first quarter and finished with four points and seven rebounds.
NOTABLE: Rondo tallied double-digit assists for the 27th straight game, tying him with John Stockton for the fourth longest streak in NBA history.
UP NEXT: For the Celtics, Wednesday vs. Washington, Friday vs. Philadelphia, Saturday @ Milwaukee. For the Wizards, Wednesday @ Boston, Friday vs. Milwaukee, Saturday @ Indiana.