Two days after Boston lost to the team chasing the Celtics atop the Eastern Conference standings, guard Kyrie Irving wasn't about to let his team suffer another defeat.
Irving scored 12 of Boston's last 17 points and finished with 28 to help the Celtics remain in sole possession of the East lead with a 110-104 overtime victory over the Washington Wizards on Thursday night.
"Every game for us is a learning experience, and it's almost like a must-win," Irving said after his second game back from a thigh injury. "Just based on the amount of expectations and what we put on ourselves and one another on a game-to-game basis."
Jaylen Brown added five of his 18 points in overtime for Boston. The Celtics have won five of six, and remained a game ahead of Toronto in the race for the East's top seed after the Raptors' win over New York earlier Thursday.
Otto Porter had 27 points and 11 rebounds for Washington, and Bradley Beal had 18 points and matched his career high with nine assists.
But as John Wall remains sidelined after knee surgery, the Wizards committed 22 turnovers and shot just two for 12 in the overtime period, dropping their second straight game after winning five in a row.
Beal, who made only seven of 27 shots and took only one foul shot, suggested officiating played a role.
"It's crazy," he said of his lack of free throws. "Because I feel like I'm being just as aggressive as everybody else out there. My teammates are doing the same. Sometimes we don't get rewarded."
at Golden State 121, Dallas 103: Kevin Durant scored 24 points and Stephen Curry added 20 as the Warriors pulled away after being tied at the half.
at Toronto 113, New York 88: Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and the Raptors routed the Knicks, who were playing their first game since losing All-Star Kristaps Porzingis to a knee injury.
at Portland 109, Charlotte 103 (OT): Jusuf Nurkic had 24 points and 14 rebounds, and the Trail Blazers, coming off a winless three-game trip, won their ninth straight at Moda Center, overcoming 40 points by Kemba Walker.
at Orlando 100, Atlanta 98: Evan Fournier scored 22 points, D.J. Augustin added 16 points and nine assists, and the Magic held on for their second three-game winning streak of the season.