Re-integration was largely painless. Kevin Garnett, back from an eight-game absence, played only 25 minutes, and Paul Pierce, after missing two of the previous three games, played slightly more at a manageable 30 minutes. The result was an ironic balance from a team that recently has been at a loss without its headliners. Eight Celtics scored eight or more points in last night’s 107-96 win over the Washington Wizards, including five players who scored between 10 and 20 points — the team high from Brandon Bass. For the first time, the Celtics started what will likely be their big playoff lineup: Pierce, Garnett, Bass, Jeff Green and Avery Bradley. Though this group encountered trouble when the quicker Wizards guards started to break free, it’s an interesting look. “It seems like every time we play somebody they bring everybody back,” Wizards point guard John Wall said. “We’re used to it by now.” The Celtics are like Wall. They have to get used to each other with only five games left in the regular season. “Kevin is healthy finally, I’m coming along, so we’re going to need the next few games to really prepare for the playoffs, no matter who we play,” said Pierce, who admitted his sore right ankle isn’t completely healed. “Right now is the time for us to start hitting our stride. “The key for us will be consistency over the next week and a half. It’s about who we want to be going into the playoffs. Tonight is an example of when we play the right way, when we defend, we score 107 points. We score in the paint and limit the other team.” And this time the Celtics got the better of the paint battle against a big team, outscoring Washington by a 50-36 margin inside. Though Garnett (12 points, six rebounds) and Pierce (15 points, five assists) were sent back into the game in the last three minutes to quell a minor Washington uprising, adequate support was there throughout.
Return of Garnett, Pierce puts Celtics back in rhythm
Boston Herald | Apr 8