Updated at: 04/07/2013 10:35 PM
By HOWARD ULMAN
(AP) BOSTON - Brandon Bass scored 20 points and the Boston Celtics, helped by the return of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, beat the Washington Wizards 107-96 Sunday night.
Bass missed his season high by just two points and led the Celtics with eight points in the third quarter, when they hit 75 percent of their shots, outscored Washington 31-19 and stretched a 56-52 halftime lead to 87-71.
They led by at least 10 points the rest of the way to get just their fourth win in 12 games.
Garnett had 12 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes after missing eight games with an inflamed left ankle. Pierce finished with 15 points in 30 minutes after missing Friday night’s 97-91 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers with a sore left ankle.
John Wall led Washington with 16 points but never got to the foul line as Boston outscored Washington 17-8 on free throws. A.J. Price had 15 points and Trevor Ariza added 14.
The win ended a four-game stretch against weak teams in which the Celtics lost to Minnesota, beat Detroit, lost to Cleveland and beat Washington. The schedule gets tougher now with a home game Wednesday night against the Brooklyn Nets before a road game Friday against the Miami Heat.
Washington fell to 7-31 on the road but is 23-20 overall since Wall returned from a shoulder injury.
A dunk by Nene with 10:24 left in the third quarter had cut the Celtics’ lead to 58-57, but they went on a 29-14 surge the rest of the period.
The Celtics began the spurt with a 14-1 run, starting with a layup by Avery Bradley. Pierce hit another layup and Bradley followed with a 16-footer. Martell Webster sank a free throw for the Wizards after Garnett was called for a technical foul with 7:57 left in the quarter. But Emeka Okafor then missed two free throws for Washington.
Boston scored the next eight points on a 14-foot jumper by Bass, two free throws by Shavlik Randolph, an 18-footer by Jason Terry and a dunk by Bass.
Ariza then scored Washington’s first field goal in nearly six minutes when Randolph was called for goaltending with 4:39 left in the period, cutting Boston’s lead to 72-60.
Notes: Washington forward Trevor Booker left the game with a bruised tailbone with 5:42 left in the first half and didn’t return. ... Chris Wilcox had 13 points for Boston, one below his season high. ... The Celtics swept the three-game season series. ... Jordan Crawford had six points in 16 minutes in his first game against the Wizards since being traded on Feb. 21. He had been upset with his diminished playing time in Washington.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)