at Washington Wizards (28-47) at Boston Celtics (39-37)
Sunday, April 7,2013
6:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #77 Home Game #39
TV: CSN-NE, Comcast Sportsnet, NBA-LP 751 (WAS)/752(BOS)
Radio: WEEI, WJFK
TD Garden Probable Starters
Avery Bradley...Paul Pierce...Jeff Green...Brandon Bass...Kevin GarnettCeltics Reserves
Rajon Rondo (knee) out
Jared Sullinger (back) out
Kevin Garnett (foot) day to day
Paul Pierce (ankle) day to day
Avery Bradley (collarbone) day to day
Terrence Williams (finger) probable
Fab Melo Probable Starters
John Wall....Garrett Temple....Martell Webster....Nene.... Emeka Okafor
Leandro Barbosa (knee) out
Bradley Beal (leg) out Game Notes
The Celtics and Wizards meet for the 3rd and final time for this season. In spite of being out of the playoffs and playing for lottery position, the Wizards have been playing well. They are coming off an impressive 104-85 win over the Pacers and they would love nothing better than to play spoiler for the Celtics also.
The Celtics lead the series 2-0, winning 89-86 in Washington and 100-94 in Boston. The Wizards are 6-4 in their last 10 games while the struggling Celtics are just 3-7 in their last 10. The Celtics have played well at home with a 26-12 record at the Garden while the Wizards have struggled with a 7-30 record on the road.
Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce practiced on Saturday but are still considered day to day. Avery Bradley didn't practice due to a sore collarbone, but Doc said he expected him to play in this game. However, if any of the 3 have soreness or swelling before the game, I expect Doc to hold them out to get them as healthy as possible before the playoffs.
Usually a player's first game against his former team after a trade is the story, but when Jordan Crawford was asked about playing his former team, he insisted that he doesn't remember playing for them, leaving reporters hanging and waiting for a response. So, I guess his amnesia about those years with the Wizards will take some of the drama out of it.
I've included some wishful thinking by posting the starting lineup that I believe Doc will use going forward. We have only seen this lineup together 13 minutes this season and I'm anxious to see what they can do. Even if KG and Pierce play, Doc will probably limit their minutes. With just 6 games left, including this one, hopefully players will start to get healthy and the team can build some chemistry going into the playoffs. Key Matchups
Avery Bradley vs John Wall
John Wall is one of the reasons that the Wizards are playing so well recently. Wall is averaging 17.6 points, 7.6 assists, and 4.0 rebounds. He is coming off the win over the Pacers in which he scored 37 points (16-25) to go with 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals. Wall didn't play in either of their previous meetings, but then again, neither did Avery. Avery will need to work on defense to keep Wall from having another big game.
Brandon Bass vs Nene
Nene is big and strong and Brandon will need to keep him away from the basket or he will score and gobble up the rebounds. He is averaging 12.9 points and 6.8 rebounds and if you don't keep him out of the paint, he will make you pay.Honorable Mention
Kevin Garnett vs Emeka Okafor
Hopefully KG plays and will be able to limit Okafor's effectiveness. I'm sure KG has a lot of defense stored up from all those game he couldn't play. Okafor is averaging 11.0 points and 10.1 rebounds. Having KG back in the lineup would be a huge boost for the Celtics. 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 while KG was out. Hopefully KG will be back and they can use these last few games to get their defense in playoff shape. 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 many times, 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. The Celtics were out rebounded 58-42 vs the Cavaliers and they must do better if they want to win this game. 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 has been playing well in spite of their record.
Focus - The Celtics must come out focused and keep that focus throughout the game. They shot just 59% from the free throw line against the Cavs and that shows a lack of focus. They have to focus on making good passes and not turning the ball over. Each player must focus on playing their role and playing team ball. There is no excuse for NBA players to miss 9 out of 22 free throws. It shows a lack of focus and they can't have lapses like that if they want to win games. X-Factors
Home Court, Fatigue and Injuries
The Celtics are playing on their home court and although it didn't make much of a difference against the Cavs, they usually play well at home and should get a boost from the crowd.
The Wizards are playing in the second of back to back games and had to travel overnight. Fatigue could be a problem for them if the game is close down the stretch.
With KG, Pierce and Bradley all considered day to day and will probably be game time decisions, a lot will depend on who can play and who can't.