Notebook: Celtics 107, Wizards 96

Posted Apr 7, 2013 10:46 PM

By Brian Dulik, for

THE FACTS: Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett returned to the floor for the Boston Celtics, helping lift the hosts past the Washington Wizards with a 107-96 victory on Sunday.

Garnett (12 points, six rebounds) and Pierce (15 points, five assists) looked sharp back in action, as they set the tone offensively for the Celtics (40-37), who shot 55 percent from the field. Brandon Bass had a game-high 20 points, as the Celtics pulled away after outscoring the Wizards 31-19 in the third quarter. John Wall posted a double-double with 16 points and 10 assists for the Wizards (29-48) in the loss.

QUOTABLE: "It's good to be playing the best basketball at the right time, and right now is the right time going into the playoffs for some guys to get their confidence going and start having some big games."

--Paul Pierce

THE STAT: The Celtics shot a scorching 75 percent (12-for-16) from the field during their 31-point third quarter.

TURNING POINT: After a back-and-forth contest through the first half, the Celtics separated themselves at the start of the third quarter with a 16-3 run to build a double-digit lead they never relinquished.

GOOD MOVE: Celtics coach Doc Rivers elected to go with a very big starting lineup featuring Pierce at the shooting guard spot, and Jeff Green at small forward upon Garnett's return to the lineup. The group performed well in their starting debut, exploiting mismatches against a smaller Wizards lineup in the backcourt.

QUOTABLE II: "I thought he was really good. And I thought his rhythm was good early. I was surprised how well he was running. I noticed that yesterday in practice. "

-- Doc Rivers on Garnett's return to action after missing the past eight games

HOT: Bass -- After struggling through the first couple months of the season, the veteran power forward has found his stride in the past few weeks. Bass made 8 of his 11 shot attempts on the night, and has scored in double digits during 12 of the Celtics' past 15 games.

NOT: Nene -- The Brazilian big man failed to find a rhythm on either end of the floor against a feisty Celtics' frontcourt. Nene shot just 33 percent from the field, while also doing little to contest strong performances by Shavlik Randolph and Chris Wilcox off the bench.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Wall -- The third-year point guard continued his fantastic all-around play during the month of April. Wall tallied 16 points, 10 assists and three rebounds in the setback. Over his last five games, Wall is averaging 25 points, five rebounds and 7.5 assists per game.

NOTABLE: Wilcox finished with 13 points, one point short of his season-high. ... The Celtics notched their 40th win of the season, the 44th time in franchise history the team has won 40 or more games. ... Randolph was forced to leave the game in the second quarter with a bloody nose, but he did return. ... Trevor Booker left the game in the second quarter with a bruised tailbone and did not return. ... Jordan Crawford scored six points in the first game against his former team, which dealt him to Boston at the trade deadline. ... With the win, Boston swept the three-game season series against Washington. ... Pierce won the Red Auerbach Award before the game, an honor given to a Celtic every season for strong work, on and off the floor. ... Emeka Okafor scored eight points and grabbed nine rebounds despite suffering a mild shoulder strain.

UP NEXT: For Washington, Tuesday @ New York, Wednesday vs. Miami, Friday vs. Philadelphia. For Boston, Wednesday vs. Brooklyn, Friday @ Miami, Saturday @ Orlando.