Celtics’ Thomas torches Wizards in pivotal fourth quarter


Isaiah Thomas was good for three quarters and nearly unstoppable in the fourth.

Thomas scored 20 of his 38 points in the final period and the Boston Celtics pulled away late for a 117-108 win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

The Celtics won for the fifth time in six games and ended Washington’s three-game winning streak. The game was physical throughout and got heated after the final buzzer as the talk continued and nearly escalated into something more.

Boston’s Jae Crowder pointed a finger toward Washington’s John Wall as the two squared off near the Wizards bench.

“Just two teams playing hard,” said Crowder, who had 20 points.

Wall swiped at Crowder but appeared to miss, then the players were steered toward the locker rooms. Some needed more guidance than others, including Boston’s Marcus Smart, who irritated and frustrated the Wizards throughout the game. Smart continued chattering away at the Wizards as he was escorted to the Celtics’ tunnel, where police lined the hallways discouraging anything more.

“It’s a physical team. We’re physical. Neither one of us has to be pumped,” said Bradley Beal, who led Washington with 35 points.

“It was just a physical game. That’s all it was.”

Al Horford added 16 points and nine rebounds for the Celtics.

Otto Porter Jr. scored 20 points for Washington.

Trail Blazers 102, Cavaliers 86

In Portland, CJ McCollum had 27 points and the Trail Blazers shook of fatigue caused by weather-related travel delays to beat defending champion Cleveland.

LeBron James had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavaliers. With his second assist of the game, James passed Tim Hardaway for 15th on NBA’s all-time assist list with 7,095.

Thunder 103, Grizzlies 95

In Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook posted his 18th triple-double of the season, and the Thunder defeated Memphis.

Westbrook finished with 24 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists for the 55th triple-double of his career.

Oklahoma City’s Enes Kanter scored 19 points.

Timberwolves 119, Rockets 105

In Minneapolis, Andrew Wiggins had 28 points, Karl-Anthony Towns scored 23 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, and Shabazz Muhammad scored 20 to help Minnesota beat Houston.

James Harden had 33 points and 12 assists for the Rockets, who had their nine-game winning streak snapped.

Ricky Rubio tied his own franchise record with 17 assists to go with 10 points for the Timberwolves.

76ers 98, Knicks 97

In Philadelphia, T.J. McConnell hit a baseline jumper at the buzzer to give the hosts a victory over New York.

Joel Embiid had 21 points and 14 rebounds to help the 76ers rally from a 17-point deficit.

Derrick Rose returned from a one-game hiatus and scored 25 points for the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony had 28.

Clippers 105, Magic 96

In Los Angeles, J.J. Redick had 22 points and the Clippers hit five 3s in the fourth quarter to hold off Orlando, improving to 5-0 in the new year.