The Celtics close out a rebuilding season with a visit from the playoff bound Wizards.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics playing for pride and the fans - Wizards for playoff positioning.

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Washington Wizards (43-38) at Boston Celtics (25-56)
Wednesday, April 16,2014
8:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #82 Home Game #15
TV: CSN-NE, Comcast Sportsnet,NBA-LP 760(DTV) /760(xfinity)
Radio: WBZ, WFED AM
TD Garden
Referees: Ed Malloy, John Goble, Scott Twardoski

Game Thread l Chat

The Celtics close out a rebuilding season with a visit from the playoff bound Wizards. The Wizards lead the series 2 games to one. The Celtics are 16-24 at home while the Wizards are 21-19 on the road. The Wizards have won their last 3 games while the Celtics lost their last game and are just 2-8 in their last 10 games.

Far from a meaningless game, both teams have plenty to play for. The Wizards are one game ahead of Charlotte for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. A win Wednesday for the Wizards would guarantee a finish no worse than sixth. Along with a Toronto victory at New York, they'd face the Raptors in the first round, while a Raptors loss combined with a Chicago win in Charlotte would lead to a first-round matchup with the Bulls. But if Washington loses and Charlotte defeats Chicago, the Wizards will slide to seventh place and play Miami

The Celtics are playing for pride and for the fans. It was a year ago that the city of Boston was devastated by the Marathon bombings. It is the last home game and the players have said that they would like to honor the fans in this last game. As for standing, the Celtics are in the 5th spot for the lottery. They are 1 game behind Utah for the 4th spot and one game ahead of the Lakers for the 6th spot. With the Jazz playing the Timberwolves and the Lakers playing the Spurs, both teams have a good chance of losing.

The Celtics will more than likely be short handed once again. Kris Humphries, Jared Sullinger, Jerryd Bayless, and Rajon Rondo are all questionable for this game. I've listed the probable starters according to the Game Notes but it's possible that Rondo may not play.

It's hard to believe that game #82 is here and the season is over and 82 game threads are in the books. I want to thank everyone for their nice comments throughout the season and for loyally supporting the Celtics, whether it was cheering for wins or for lottery balls. It's going to be a fun off season.




Probable Starters

PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Jeff Green
PF: Brandon Bass
C: Kelly Olynyk

Celtics Reserves
Joel Anthony
Chris Johnson
Chris Babb
Phil Pressey

Injuries
Keith Bogans (personal) out
Vitor Faverani (knee) out
Gerald Wallace (knee) out
Jared Sullinger (ankle) questionable
Kris Humphries (knee) questionable
Rajon Rondo (shin) questionable
Jerryd Bayless (knee) questionable



Probable Starters

PG: John Wall
SG: Bradley Beal
SF: Trevor Ariza
PF: Trevor Booker
C: Marcin Gortat

Wizards Reserves
Martell Webster
Garrett Temple
Kevin Seraphin
Otto Porter
Chris Singleton
Al Harrington
Glen Rice, Jr
Andre Miller
Drew Gooden
Nene

Injuries
None


Key Matchups
vs
Rajon Rondo vs John Wall
Wall is playing very well, averaging 19.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 8.8 assists. He leads the league in total assists this season. Wall always takes this matchup personally after feeling that he was slighted for the All Star Game in favor of Rondo. If Rondo can't go, it will fall to Phil Pressey to match up with Wall and try to slow him down.

vs
Avery Bradley vs Bradley Beal
Avery will have his hands full with Beal, who is averaging 17.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists. Avery has been shooting the ball very well also and should make Beal work on the defensive end.

Honorable Mention

Kelly Olynyk vs Marcin Gortat
Gortat is averaging 13.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. He has given the Celtics problems in the past and they will need to keep him out of the paint and away from the basket.

Keys to the Game
Focus - The Celtics have stretches in almost every game where they seem to lose focus and can't seem to hit a shot and turn the ball over way too many times. Things like 5 second violations and dribbling out the clock just shouldn't happen. The Celtics need to find a way to stay focused and play well throughout the game and not just in spurts.

Defense - The Celtics need to especially defend the 3 point line. Washington is 2nd in the league in 3 point percentage. But they can't ignore the paint either as Gortat can go strong to the basket as can their guards. The Celtics need to play team defense as the Wizards have 7 players averaging 10 points or more per game so they have to cover everyone and have each others' backs.

Move the Ball
- The Celtics play their best when they move the ball and find the open man. They play their worst when they over dribble and each player tries to do too much. They need to keep the ball moving, including getting up the floor quickly before the defense gets set.

Rebound - The Celtics must crash the boards and put out extra effort to grab rebounds. The Wizards are good at getting out on the break when they can get defensive rebounds and they are also good at getting put backs and second chance points when they get offensive rebounds.

Be Aggressive - The Celtics must be the more aggressive team in going to the basket, in diving for loose balls, in grabbing rebounds and just in playing harder. They have to be the team that wants it more and plays harder.

X-Factors
Motivation and Injuries
The Wizards are playing for playoff position and to avoid playing the Heat in the first round. The Celtics are playing for the fans and for pride, to end the season on a high note. Which motivation will be stronger?
Will the Celtics have enough players to get through the game? With all the injuries, they may just run out of gas before the end of the game.

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