BOSTON (AP) — Isaiah Thomas scored 25 points after missing the previous two games with a bruised right knee, leading the Boston Celtics to a 110-102 victory over the Washington Wizards in another testy matchup Monday night between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
Avery Bradley added 20 points and nine rebounds for Boston, which moved 2½ games ahead of the Wizards for second place in the East. The Celtics trail first-place Cleveland by two games.
Jae Crowder and Al Horford each scored 16 with nine boards.
Bradley Beal led Washington with 19 points, and John Wall had 16 points with eight assists.
Behind Thomas’ 12 third-quarter points, Boston pushed an 11-point halftime lead to 92-75 after three.
The Wizards trailed by 15 with just more than four minutes left, but closed to 106-100 on Kelly Oubre Jr.’s steal and breakaway dunk with 2:05 to play.
Marcus Smart had a basket and two free throws to seal it.
The bad feelings built up between the teams this season resurfaced briefly midway into the second quarter. Washington’s Brandon Jennings bumped into Terry Rozier a few times under the basket before Rozier pushed him to the floor near midcourt. Both got a technical.
In the last meeting at TD Garden in early January, Crowder and Wall had words at the end of the game. Crowder pointed his finger in Wall’s face, and Wall slapped at him.
When they met in Washington on Jan. 25, the Wizards wore what they called “funeral black” to the game before picking up the win.
The Celtics used a 16-5 run midway into the second to help them build a 58-47 halftime edge.
Wizards: F Markieff Morris (illness) returned to the starting lineup after missing the past two games. . Wall came up limping after a driving, spinning basket in the third quarter, but stayed in the game. . Washington committed a season-high 28 fouls.
Celtics: Thomas hit a 3-pointer for a club-record 45th straight game. . Boston opened a stretch of six straight at home and play only three games away from home the rest of the regular season.
With the Celtics healthy again, coach Brad Stevens said the final weeks of the regular season give his team a chance to get stronger playing together.
“We just haven’t had a ton of time with ourselves fully healthy,” he said. “We have to make sure that we utilize this time appropriately for our team to get better. Regardless of who we’re playing against, there aren’t any secrets.”
Wizards: Host the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday. Washington has won two of the three previous meetings this season.
Celtics: Host the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. Boston has beaten Indiana twice this season, with Thomas leading the team in scoring both times.