Celtics look to get back on track as they host the Wizards

Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

Celtics host the Wizards as KG, Avery and The Captain are all game time decisions.

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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
Referees: Jason Phillips, Scott Twardoski, Leon Wood

Game Thread l Chat

Boston Celtics Tickets

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. But as for now, I don't know which of the walking wounded will be playing. 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.

Probable Starters

PG SG SF PF C

Avery Bradley...Paul Pierce...Jeff Green...Brandon Bass...Kevin Garnett

Celtics Reserves

Courtney Lee

Jason Terry

DJ White

Shavlik Randolph

Chris Wilcox

Jordan Crawford

Terrence Williams

Injuries

Rajon Rondo (knee) out

Jared Sullinger (back) out

Kevin Garnett (foot) game time decision

Paul Pierce (ankle) game time decision

Avery Bradley (collarbone) game time decision

Terrence Williams (finger) probable


Red Claws

Fab Melo

Probable Starters

PG SG SF PF C

John Wall....Garrett Temple....Martell Webster....Nene.... Emeka Okafor


Wizards Reserves

Jan Vesely

Trevor Booker

Chris Singleton

Jason Collins

Trevor Ariza

AJ Price

Cartier Martin

Kevin Seraphin

Injured

Leandro Barbosa (knee) out

Bradley Beal (leg) out

Key Matchups

vs

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.

vs

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 game time decisions, a lot will depend on who can play and who can't. It sure would be nice to see how the lineup with Bradley, PP, Green, Bass and KG works together.


Official Report

Jason Phillips

Jason Phillips has officiated 766 regular season games and 27 playoff games since joining the NBA officiating staff 12 seasons ago. In addition, Phillips has six seasons of experience officiating in the CBA, working the 1999 CBA Finals. He also officiated three seasons in the WNBA, working the 1999 WNBA Finals. Phillips spent five years officiating at the high school level in his home state of Texas. Phillips earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Tarleton State. In addition, he played varsity basketball, golf and baseball while at Cisco High School in Texas.

The Celtics are are 3-2 this season and 6-4 over their last 10 games with Phillips as a ref. One loss last season was game 2 vs the Sixers that he officiated along with Dan Crawford in which KG was called for a questionable offensive foul with 10 seconds left and a chance to win the game. The officiating was fairly even in 4 of the 5 games so far this season. In the game in OKC the Celtics shot 20 free throws to 33 for the Thunder and there were a few questionable calls. It was Phillips that got Tommy to swear on the air last season in a game against Houston about the refs falling for all the blank blank flops. The Wizards are 0-4 this season and are 3-7 in their last 10 games with Phillips. His home W/L record this season is 34-26.


Scott Twardoski

Scott Twardowski officiated 42 regular season games in his first year on the staff. Twardowski’s experience includes six seasons and 206 games officiated in the D-League. He also has four seasons of NBA preseason game experience and worked in NBA summer camps for eight years. He also has seven seasons of WNBA experience, working both the All-Star game and Finals. In addition to his professional experience, Twardoski officiated collegiate games for 12 years in the Pac 10, Big 12, Big Sky and West Coast Conferences and has 10 years of high school officiating experience. Twardoski worked as a teacher for five years in the 16th School District, Covington, AZ.

He has called only 4 games for Boston over his career: a win in Cleveland, a win vs Orlando in which Orlando took 30 free throws to 19 for the Celtics, and a loss at Sacramento in which the officiating was uneven, all last season. This season, his only game with the Celtics was a win in Charlotte in which the officiating wasn't bad. The Wizards are 3-1 this season and 6-2 over Twardoski's career. His home W/L record for this season is 30-19.

Leon Wood

Leon Wood’s connection with the NBA began as a player when he played professionally with Philadelphia, Washington, New Jersey, San Antonio, Atlanta and Sacramento, averaging 6.4 points, 3.2 assists and 1.2 rebounds as a guard during his six-year NBA career. In addition to his NBA playing career, Wood was a member of the Gold Medal winning 1984 United States Olympic Basketball Team, and he won another Gold Medal in the 1983 Pan-Am Games.

During his 16-season NBA officiating career, he has worked 995 regular season games and 19 playoff games. Wood has three years of CBA officiating experience and one year of collegiate officiating experience in the Ohio Valley and Trans America Athletic Conferences. He also has one year of high school officiating experience in California. Wood played for the University of Arizona for one season before transferring to Cal State Fullerton, where he was named All-American. The native of Santa Monica, Calif. is an inductee in the Orange County Hall of Fame, and in 1998, Wood was inducted into the Cal State Fullerton Hall of Fame. Wood was a member of the basketball team at St. Monica High School.

You would think that being a former player, Wood would try to be fair but he has been a mediocre ref at best. The Celtics are 1-1 this season and 6-4 over their last 10 games with Wood officiating. In his first game with the Celtics this season, the Bulls shot 24 free throws to 19 for the Celtics and the officiating wasn't bad. In his second game vs Atlanta, the Hawks shot 17 free throws to 20 for the Celtics and the refs pretty much let them play. The Wizards are 1-3 this season and 4-6 over their last 10 games called by Wood. His home W/L record this season is 36-27.

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