for this game

Celtics claim 13th straight win, topple Wizards

Dec 12, 2008 - 6:28 AM By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Paul Pierce and Ray Allen scored 22 points apiece to lead seven players in double figures as the Boston Celtics won their 13th game in a row with a 122-88 victory over the Washington Wizards on Thursday.

Eddie House had 14 points and Kendrick Perkins added 12 as the Celtics (21-2) secured the best 23-game start in franchise history.

"It's a great accomplishment to talk about," Allen said. "It's a lasting impression of the legacy that we'll leave. Last year we talked about being a team that's not like a so-called one-hit wonder, win a championship one year and then fade away. We talked about being good consistently."

"It's always good to make history, especially when you're part of such a storied franchise," added Pierce, who had eight assists and six rebounds. "There's not a lot of record-breaking moments with the Celtics because they've already done so much with the history that we have, meaning championships and the number of things that they've done. So whenever we can make history, it's great."

Kevin Garnett contributed 11 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Rajon Rondo had 11 points and six assists, and reserve guard Tony Allen added 10 points.

"I wasn't even aware of any records. I'm so locked into who we play - getting ready for New Orleans and preparing for Washington - that I didn't even know," Garnett said of the record. "But anytime you do something that involves history, you always have to give it up for the people that have come before you. I've been a big fan of being a fan of history, but to establish ourselves in that history that's so rich with prestige and traditions - it's a great thing."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he did not even discuss the record start with his players.

"I didn't even mention it, I just assumed you guys would," Rivers told reporters. "But, listen, it's great to have, but it's not what we're playing for. We do respect that history, but it's not what we're playing for. We're playing to be a better team each night, and I thought the first half was some of our better basketball."

Although Boston's second squad played the final eight minutes, the Celtics' 122 points matched their season-high.

"I think that we just saw the best team in the league," Wizards coach Ed Tapscott said. "We have to give a lot of credit to the Celtics because they came out and they played hard."

Pierce scored the Celtics' first six points of the fourth quarter and House followed with back-to-back 3-pointers from opposite sides of the court for a 98-77 lead with 8:29 remaining.

House and Pierce combined for 18 points during a 21-3 run bridging the third and fourth quarters that put the game away.

Caron Butler led the Wizards with 19 points while Antawn Jamison and Juan Dixon added 17 apiece.

"With two minutes left to go in the game, those guys are still attacking, playing hard and denying the passing lanes," said Dixon, who had seven assists and four turnovers. "We've got to have that same mentality."

Butler's jumper from the left wing pulled the Wizards within 84-74 with 1:01 remaining in the third, but that was as close as Washington got in the second half.

"In the third quarter, we had a letdown and our bench kind of bailed us out and allowed our starters to get a rest," Rivers said. "Our bench was phenomenal tonight."

Perkins' slam off Garnett's backcourt steal gave Boston a 63-39 lead at the break as the Celtics posted a season-high for points in the first half.

The Wizards were the only team in the league that defeated the Celtics three times last season and they held Boston to an average of 89.8 points in four games. This one, however, was never in doubt.

"We came in here with a little something on our shoulder, too, Dog, to be honest," Garnett said. "Washington has played us probably the best out of any of the teams in the league. They got a little swag with them, so tonight there really wasn't too much to be said."

What a difference a year makes. At this point of last season, the Celtics were just getting to know each other on the court. Now they are the reigning world champions.

"We have a year under our belt," Garnett said. "We know what to expect from each other. I think playing-wise we know each other's style. Doc (Rivers) gives the instructions and we go out and try to execute it. We don't care who scores the ball. We don't care who gets the points, who shoots the last shot. It's all about the best option and who has it going. We hang our hat on the defense, and we trust each other even more.

"Last year, like you said, it was a big question mark. This year, a lot of exclamation points and periods."

Allen scored 13 points and Pierce added 10 to lead the Celtics to a 36-21 lead after one.

"We were great on offense and defense in the first half," Rivers said.

Perkins followed Allen's third 3-pointer with a monster slam over Wizards rookie center JaVale McGee to give Boston a 30-17 lead with 2:50 remaining in the first quarter.