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Mourning Wall guides Wizards to double-OT win



WASHINGTON — John Wall awoke Monday morning to the worst of news.

Playing that night with a heavy heart, and then with tired legs in double overtime, the Washington Wizards’ point guard unleashed his latest starry performance in the wildest of games.

Wall scored 26 points, including 10 in a row in the second extra session, as the Wizards blew a 23-point lead in regulation before rallying from seven-point deficits in both overtimes for a thrilling 133-132 victory over the Boston Celtics.

Washington forward Paul Pierce scored a season 28-points against his former team. The Celtics set a franchise record with 82 bench points.

Wall added a career-high 17 assists hours after a text informed him that 6-year-old Miyah Telemaque-Nelson, a young girl he befriended in March, died after losing her battle with Burkitt’s lymphoma. Washington’s leading man teared up during a postgame television interview.

“It was tough for me. I know it was tough for her family,” Wall said. “This game was really meant for her. It would have been an even tougher day to lose it. God has a plan. I just went into a mode where I didn’t want to lose this game.”

Initially, losing the game didn’t appear to be a concern, as the Wizards led 58-45 at halftime, 88-65 in the third quarter and 102-88 with 6:43 remaining in regulation.

Then the game turned crazy with more twists and turns than any soap opera could imagine. Wizards point guard Andre Miller, the oldest active player on the team, later said, “It was probably one of the top three games I’ve been a part of.”

Oh, and it came after Boston defeated Washington 101-93 at home Sunday. The Wizards trailed by 25 in that game before rallying within one point with 1:12 remaining, but the Celtics held on.

In Monday’s rematch, the Celtics (7-12) rallied late in regulation with a 15-0 run. Guard Evan Turner, part of the bench barrage, sank a 3-pointer from the left corner with 0.6 seconds remaining, forcing the first overtime session. Turner scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter.

Forward Jeff Green had 28 for the Celtics. In his most extensive action since returning from a significant ankle sprain, rookie guard Marcus Smart set a career high with 23 points while Rajon Rondo spent much of the game on the bench.

Forward Brandon Bass and center Kelly Olynyk each scored 19 for the Celtics, who had won three straight. Boston outscored Washington 34-18 in the fourth quarter behind the four reserves and Green, the only starter to play more than 23 minutes.

“No-brainer,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens of playing his reserves heavy minutes. “I mean, those guys deserved to play at the end ’cause they got us right back in it.”

Rondo recorded a triple-double Sunday, but he went scoreless with four assists in 21 minutes Monday.

Washington (14-6) shot 52.1 percent from the field, while Boston shot 46.1 percent. Both teams made more than 40 percent of their 3-point attempts, and the Celtics sank 29 of 32 free throws.

Smart opened the first overtime with a 3-pointer, and Boston led 119-112 with 1:38 remaining. Washington closed the period on a 9-2 run, tying the game at 121-121 on Pierce’s shot from beyond the arc with 38.9 seconds to go.

Boston opened the second overtime with a 7-0 run for a 130-123 lead. Wall then took over, sinking four consecutive shots and making two free throws. His three-point play gave Washington a 133-132 lead with 44.6 seconds left.

The Celtics’ last two possessions ended in a turnover by Green and a missed shot by Turner.

“It’s a great learning lesson for us,” Wall said. “We went through adversity, being down seven two times in overtimes. That was pretty big for us to be resilient and come back and get a win.”

Wall committed nine turnovers, but became the first player in Washington franchise history to amass at least 12 assists in five straight games.

“John Wall killed us in transition,” Stevens said.

The Wizards won their fifth consecutive home game and earned their fifth victory in six games overall. Center Marcin Gortat had 21 points and 12 rebounds.

NOTES: Wizards forward Paul Pierce moved into 16th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with a second-quarter free throw, passing former Indiana Pacers star Reggie Miller. Pierce, a 16-year veteran, now has 25,300 points. … Celtics PG Rajon Rondo had 13 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in Sunday’s win over the Wizards for the 21st triple-double of his career. … Boston faces another Southeast division team when it plays the Hornets in Charlotte on Wednesday. Washington travels to play at the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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