at Washington Wizards (0-2) at Boston Celtics (1-2)
Wednesday, November 7,2012
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #4 Home Game #2
TV: CSN-NE, Comcast Sportsnet, NBA-LP 753 (Wiz)/754(C's)
Radio: WEEI, WJFK
TD Garden Probable Starters
Rajon Rondo...Courtney Lee...Paul Pierce...Jared Sullinger...Kevin GarnettCeltics Reserves
Avery Bradley (shoulders) outProbable Starters
AJ Price....Bradley Beal....Trevor Ariza....Trevor Booker.... Emeka Okafor
Nene (foot) out
Jordan Crawford (ankle) probable
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 complete a home and home set with the Wizards as they try to climb to .500 after an 0-2 start. The Celtics started the game in Washington very strong but faded toward the end, allowing the Wizards to make it a close game and almost steal it.
The Celtics were playing in back to back games on the road, which may have been a factor. Doc said he wasn't happy with the team's conditioning and ran them through conditioning drills in practice. Doc also talked about the need for consistency.
Both teams have had 3 days off prior to this game and so fatigue shouldn't be a factor, unless Doc has worn the team out with the conditioning drills. The Celtics have also struggled to regain their defensive focus and will look to regain their reputation as one of the top defensive teams in the league starting with this game.
Jared Sullinger moved into the starting lineup in the last game and was somewhat successful there and although it's never certain these days, I expect him to remain there for this game as well. Word out of practice on Tuesday was that Sully was practicing with the first team while Brandon Bass was with the second unit. 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., Rondo needs to be aggressive and to be make sure that they play team ball and not hero ball.
Paul Pierce vs Trevor Ariza
Pierce had a very strong game against the Wizards on Saturday and hopefully he can again lead the Celtics to a win in this one. Honorable Mention
Courtney Lee vs Bradley Beal
Lee struggled somewhat in the first game against the Wizards, shooting just 2-7 from the field. He vowed to play better in this game and so hopefully he will find his shot in this game. 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. The Celtics haven't been able to establish that lock down defense that they have been famous for since KG joined the team. 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. Sully's presence in the starting lineup helps but someone needs to step up on the second unit and crash the boards. 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. The Celtics were aggressive in the first half of the last game but then let up and played passively in the second half. They need to be consistent throughout the game.
The Bench was supposed to be the Celtics strength but so far, they have disappointed and have been outscored by their opponents in each of the first 3 games. They need to find their offense and also some consistency.