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Feb 8, 2024 5:38 pm

Celtics cap long homestand against struggling Wizards

porzingis

The Boston Celtics will wrap up a seven-game homestand when they face the Washington Wizards on Friday night.

Boston improved to 4-2 during the homestand by beating Atlanta 125-117 Wednesday night. Kristaps Porzingis scored a game-high 31 points, and Derrick White finished with 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds. White made four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, when Boston pulled away.

“I was getting great looks,” White said. “Obviously a lot of attention to everybody else, and if I have wide-open looks I have to knock them down.”

Jayson Tatum added 20 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, as the Celtics improved to 24-3 at home. Al Horford had 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Boston played without shooting guard Jrue Holiday (elbow), but still had six players score at least 10 points.

“When we’re playing like that and we’re moving it like that, I just think that puts us in a different dimension offensively,” Horford said. “We have so many weapons out there that it becomes very tough to defend us.”

Washington is coming off Wednesday’s 114-106 loss to Cleveland, and will be trying to end a four-game losing streak (all at home). The Wizards have lost 10 of their past 12.

“They made a couple tough shots down the stretch,” Washington interim head coach Brian Keefe said. “We talked about how we were going to respond to something.

“We didn’t love our effort in the last game against Phoenix (a 140-112 loss), and I thought our guys collectively responded and came out and played a good defensive game against a really high-powered offensive team. So I liked our competitiveness. That fourth quarter, they just made some tough shots.”

Kyle Kuzma was in the lineup against Cleveland after missing Sunday’s loss to Phoenix with left shoulder soreness. He finished the game with 28 points, four rebounds and two assists. Corey Kispert added 23 points and seven rebounds off the bench.

Jordan Poole – Washington’s second leading scorer – was scoreless, shot 0 for 5 from the field and fouled out with 18 seconds to play. It was his first scoreless game since the 2021 season, when he played for Golden State.

“We just need (Poole) to continue to be aggressive,” Kuzma said. “I don’t think (Cleveland) really did anything. He just has to continue to be confident in himself and trust his work. He works harder than anybody on this team. Just going through a storm right now.”

At the trade deadline Thursday, the Wizards reportedly sent center Daniel Gafford to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for center Richaun Holmes and draft compensation.

Boston added depth at center by acquiring Xavier Tillman from Memphis on Wednesday. Tillman averaged 6.0 points and 4.6 rebounds per game with the Grizzlies this season.

“He has really good numbers against some of the top centers in the league,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said. “His pick-and-roll defense and rim protection is pretty good, so I think it just gives us versatility at that position. It’s important for our bigs to be versatile (on defense).”

Friday’s matchup will be the second game between the Celtics and Wizards this season. Boston earned a 126-107 victory at home on Oct. 30. Jaylen Brown scored a game-high 36 points and Jayson Tatum finished with 33 for Boston. Kuzma led Washington with 21.

Brown made 8 of his 13 3-point attempts in the victory.

– Field Level Media

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