Celtics visit Wizards looking to play spoiler

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics look to play spoiler for the Wizards who are hoping to clinch a playoff berth.

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Boston Celtics (23-51) at Wizards (38-36)
Regular Season Game #75, Road Game #37
Wednesday,April 2, 2014
7:00 PM ET
TV: CSN-NE, Comcast Sportsnet, NBA-LP 756(DTV)/751(Xfinity)
Radio: WBZ, WFED AM
Verizon Center
Referees: Marc Davis, Ben Taylor, Gary Zielinski

Game Thread l Chat


The Celtics visit the Washington Wizards for the 3rd of 4 meetings this season. The series is tied at 1-1 with each team winning on the other's court. The Wizards are still playing to clinch a playoff spot and for better playoff position. The Celtics were eliminated from playoff contention with their last loss and are playing for pride and improvement over the last few games of the season.

The Wizards are in the 6th spot, 2 games behind the Nets for the 5th seed and home court advantage in the first round. The Wizards are also 2 games ahead of Charlotte for the 7th seed and a date with either the Pacers or Heat in the first round.

The Celtics are 1-9 in their last 10 games and 8-28 on the road. The Wizards are 5-5 in their last 10 games and 19-17 at home. The Celtics have dropped 10 straight on the road but haven't lost to the Wizards in more than three seasons with Rondo, who will face Washington for the first time in 2013-14 on Wednesday night. The Wizards lost their last game while the Celtics have lost their last 5 games. The Celtics have won six straight over Washington with Rondo in the lineup going back to 2011. The Celtics have won eight of the last nine games between these two teams, losing the one game in Boston this season.

Avery Bradley left the Celtics game vs the Bulls on Monday with soreness from tendonitis but is expected to play in this one. Rondo missed the loss to the Bulls on Monday for rest but will be back in the lineup for this one. The Wizards are without Nene, who is out with a knee injury.


Probable Starters
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Jeff Green
PF: Brandon Bass
C: Kris Humphries

Celtics Reserves
Joel Anthony
Chris Johnson
Phil Pressey
Chris Babb
Jared Sullinger
Kelly Olynyk
Jerryd Bayless

Injuries
Avery Bradley (ankle) questionable
Keith Bogans (personal) out
Vitor Faverani (knee) out
Gerald Wallace (knee) out



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

Injuries

Nene (knee) out

Key Matchups
vs
Rajon Rondo vs John Wall
Wall is playing very well, averaging 19.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 8.7 assists. He leads the league in total assists with 643 on the season. Wall always takes this matchup personally after feeling that he was slighted for the All Star Game in favor of Rondo. This is the first time that these two will face each other this season. Rondo will need to slow him down and disrupt his passing lanes.

vs
Avery Bradley vs Bradley Beal

Avery is expected to play in this game but if he can't because of the tendonitis, expect Jerryd Bayless to get the start in his place. Avery will have his hands full with Beal, who is averaging 16.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists. Both Avery and Jerryd should make Beal work on defense as well.

Honorable Mention
Kris Humphries vs Marcin Gortat
Gortat is averaging 12.8 points and 9.4 rebounds. He can give the Celtics problems if the Celtics don't box him out and defend him in the paint.

Keys to the Game
Play 48 Minutes -
The Celtics have played very well in spurts keeping up with teams and even forging leads at times. But then they go through droughts when they can't hit a shot and tend to let the opposing team score at will, while turning the ball over too many times. The Celtics have to find a way to eliminate those lapses.

Focus at the End
-
The Celtics have stayed in games right to the end but seem to lose focus down the stretch and allow teams to pull ahead for the win. The Celtics need to find a way to close out games and not give them away at the end.

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
As with previous games, the Wizards will be playing for playoff position while the Celtics are playing for pride. Which will be the stronger motivation?

X
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