at Boston Celtics (0-2) at Wizards (0-1)
Regular Season Game #3, Road Game #2
Saturday, November 3, 2012
7:00 PM ET
TV: CSN-NE, Comcast Sportsnet, NBA-LP 751(BOS)/752(WAS)
Radio: WEEI, WJFK
Verizon Center Probable Starters
Rajon Rondo...Courtney Lee...Paul Pierce...Brandon Bass...Kevin GarnettCeltics Reserves
Avery Bradley (shoulders) outProbable Starters
AJ Price....Bradley Beal....Trevor Ariza....Trevor Booker.... Emeka Okafor
Cartier Martin Injured
Nene (foot) out
Kevin Seraphin (calf) out
John Wall (Patella) out Team Connections
Wizards Assistant Coach Sam Cassell played for the Celtics during the 2007-08 season and was a member of the 2008 NBA Championship team
Kevin Garnett played for Wizards Head Coach Randy Wittman in Minnesota in 2007
Garnett and Cassell were teammates in Minnesota from 2003-05
John Wall and Rajon Rondo both attended the University of Kentucky
Fab Melo, Leandro Barbosa and Nene are natives of Brazil
Chris Wilcox and Sam Cassell were teammates on the LA Clippers during the 2005-06 season
Darko Milicic and Trevor Ariza were teammates in Orlando from 2005-07
Martell Webster and Darko Milicic were teammates in Minnesota from 2010-12.Game Notes
The Celtics will look to avoid an 0-3 start tonight as they take on the Washington Wizards. The Celtics main concern going into this game is their defense. Last year, the Celtics led the league in opponents' FG percentage allowing teams to shoot just 41.9 from the floor. This season they have allowed the Heat to shoot 54.4% (and score 120 points) and the Bucks to shoot 46.5%
The Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games, after a rather listless loss in their home opener to the Bucks. The Wizards have had 3 days off and have spent practice studying the Celtics tendencies and feel that they are ready for the challenge. Even without their star guard John Wall, who is out with a knee injury, the Wizards are an improved team and will present a test for the Celtics. The Celtics will need to do more than just show up in order to avoid yet another loss.
KG spoke to the team after their loss last night and encouraged them to imitate a pack of hyenas with their play. That could be good advice for them. They have a lot of individual talent on this team but they have yet to put it together and play as a team, especially on the defensive end. They need to band together and develop chemistry on the court in order to right the ship. That should be just a matter of time and could happen with any game.
This is the first of a rare home and home set for these two teams and they will face each other again on Wednesday in Boston. With each game, this team should be learning more about themselves and building chemistry bit by bit. Look for the Celtics to come out more aggressively tonight and for the bench to step up a bit more than they have in the first two games. Both teams are looking for their first win. It is the Wizards home opener. Expect a dog fight from both teams. Or perhaps, for the Celtics, a hyena fight. Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs AJ Price
As Rondo goes so go the Celtics. With former number 1 pick John Wall out, Rondo should have a much easier time against AJ Price and should have a big game.
Kevin Garnett vs Emeka Okafor
KG has a couple of inches on Okafor and should be able to bully his way inside or get his shot off over Okafor,. Honorable Mention
Courtney Lee vs Bradley Beal
CLee should be able to use his veteran wiles to get the best of the Rookie. Keys to the Game Defense
Defense always wins games. The Celtics have to make defense their priority and shut down the paint as well as staying on their outside shooters. Rebound
The Celtics must crash the boards and keep the Wizards from getting second chance points, fast break opportunities and extra possessions. As I have said before, when the Celtics put out the effort necessary to win the battle of the boards, that effort seems to pick up every area of their game as well. Be Aggressive
The Celtics need to play aggressively. They need to take the ball to the hoop and try to get to the line early and often. Make the officials call the fouls. They also have to go for every loose ball and battle for all the rebounds. If they play passively, they could be facing a loss to a team that is hungry for their first win. Limit Turnovers
- The Celtics have turned the ball over too much this season so far. They tend to make lazy passes and lose focus from time to time and give their opponents easy scoring opportunities because of it. They have to take better care of the ball.
The Celtics have played rather passively so far, especially on the defensive end. They haven't been aggressive and haven't shown much chemistry among the players. Hopefully KG's call to arms (or paws, as the case may be) will be enough to wake them up.