The Celtics again built a big lead, and again watched their opponent tear it down and walk away with a win.
It’s starting to become a habit for these Celtics, who blew an 18-point first-half lead and lost to the Washington Wizards, 106-99, Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.
A few days earlier, on Wednesday night at the Garden, the Celtics had a 21-point first-half lead against the Detroit Pistons and yet lost.
After two straight defeats, the Celtics sit at 12-16 and are tied for the Atlantic Division lead with the Toronto Raptors.
The Celtics opened the game on a 22-8 run and led, 30-14, after another hot first quarter in which they shot 60 percent from the floor.
However, they started to cool off in the second quarter as the Wizards, who scored 30 points in that frame, started to find their rhythm. The Celtics led by just 7 at halftime.
In the second half, the Wizards kept chipping away, and they took their first lead when John Wall sank a jumper with 2:51 left in the fourth quarter, going ahead, 95-93.
Wall’s backcourt mate Trevor Ariza, who scored a game-high 27 points, drilled a 3-pointer shortly thereafter, stretching Washington’s lead.
The Celtics didn’t have an answer, spoiling big games for Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger.
Bradley scored 21 of his 26 points in the second half, including 12 in a row between the third and fourth quarters. He made 12 of 18 shots.
Sullinger scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Brandon Bass also had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. And Celtics guard Jordan Crawford, facing his former team, had 11 points and eight assists.
Wall finished with 20 points and nine assists.
The deciding statistic was fast-break points, where the Wizards outscored the Celtics, 23-13.
The Celtics play the Pacers Sunday in Indianapolis.