Wizards Leave Celtics Spellbound With Late Fighback

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The capped a stunning comeback in the final minute to upset the Eastern Conference-leading 85-83 on Saturday.

John Wall’s three-point basket off the backboard as the shot clock ran out gave the Wizards an 84-81 lead with just 58 seconds left, and they held on as time expired to snap Boston’s five-game winning streak.

“I didn’t call it,” Wall said of his key shot. “I knew it was going to hit backboard, but I thought it was going to be a hard brick. It could have broke the backboard, but luckily it went in for us, and it was a momentum changer.”

The Celtics raced 35-20 ahead at the end of the first quarter and maintained control until Wall gave the Wizards their first lead of the game at 81-79 with 2:35 remaining in the fourth quarter.

“I thought we came out, played hard, got a big lead, and then I thought we went showtime,” said Celtics coach . “I thought we decided to just kind of play, not compete. So I really thought we deserved to lose the game.”

Washington’s comeback was keyed by improved defense in the second half. The Wizards held the Celtics to just 27 points after being outscored 56-46 in the first half.

“When we play defense, we give ourselves a chance to play against anybody,” Wizards Coach Flip Saunders said. “Our defense was great the second half. We took advantage of some mismatches.”

Rashard Lewis led the Wizards with 18 points while JaVale McGee and Wall each scored 16. paced the Celtics with 17 points.

(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by John O’Brien)

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