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The Celtics spent three quarters building an 18-point lead, but it only took the Wizards three minutes to burn almost all of it down.

Between Rasual Butler, Paul Pierce and Bradley Beal, the Wizards sniped their way back into the game one 3-pointer at a time.

The Celtics went from trying to protect a cushy double-digit lead to fighting off another fourth-quarter challenge.

When Butler drained a corner three with 2:50 left to make it 92-91, the Celtics lead was down to it last thread.

But the Celtics closed the game out with a 9-2 run, capped by a corner three from Avery Bradley, that sealed their 101-93 victory at TD Garden Sunday afternoon.


Rajon Rondo finished with his 21st career triple-double (13 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists) and Jeff Green scored a game-high 23 points on 9-of-21 shooting from the floor.

In his third game back in Boston since being traded two seasons ago, Pierce finished with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting in 18 minutes. Butler drilled 6 of 10 3-pointers and finished with 22 points.

For three quarters, the Wizards seemed like they were allergic to scoring. They shot 32 percent, their key big man, Marcin Gortat, missed 9 of his 12 shots, and their best shooter, Beal, was 4 for 16.

The cure-all came in the fourth, when the Wizards knocked down 6 of 11 threes (four from Butler), but the Celtics were able to bottle them up late to pick up their third straight win.

It’s the first time this season the Celtics have won three in a row and it comes after losing five straight.

Follow Julian Benbow on Twitter at @JulianBenbow.