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Celtics Look to Settle Score with Wizards


 Washington Wizards (19-16) at Boston Celtics (30-5)

Monday, January 14
7:30 PM ET
Game #36,  Home Game #19
TV:  NBALP ch 752,  CSN HD, CSN (Both teams broadcast on CSN)
Sirius channel 127
TD Banknorth Garden 
Chat   l  Game Thread      

Wizards Coverage    Bullets Forever     l    Ready to Rule     

The Celtics will be looking for payback in this game after a loss to this same team on Saturday night.     The Celtics looked tired and played without much energy in the 4th quarter of that game, allowing the Wizards to outscore them 25-13 over the final 12 minutes.    The Wizards pulled down 19 more rebounds than the Celtics for 26 second chance points.     This is the 3rd meeting between these two teams.  The series is tied at 1-1 with each team winning on their home court.  The final meeting will be on April 9 in DC. 
While the Celtics were without Rondo on Saturday,  the Wizards have been without Gilbert Arenas for most of the season so far.  Both teams were playing in the second of back to back games on Saturday with the Wizards coming off a tough overtime win over the Hawks.     Rondo's status is day to day but he isn't expected to be back for this game.    After a very poor performance in DC, the Celtics should be motivated to come out strong in order to avoid their first 2 game losing streak this season.    The Celtics should win this one easily if they can get back to doing the things that made them successful early  but that they have gotten away from recently.      

Probable Starting Matchups
PG:   Tony Allen vs Antonio Daniels
SG:   Ray Allen vs  DeShawn Stevenson
SF:   Paul Pierce vs Caron Butler
PF:   Kevin Garnett vs  Antawn Jamison
C:    Kendrick Perkins vs  Brendan Haywood 
Key Matchups
Paul Pierce vs Caron Butler
Pierce    PPG 21.2 RPG 5.70 APG 4.9 EFF + 21.00
Butler    PPG 21.9 RPG 6.80 APG 4.6 EFF + 24.22
Pierce and Butler were going at each other both verbally and physically the entire game on Saturday.    Butler got a slight edge in the stats with 16 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals, and 1 block  to 15 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks for Pierce and of course, Butler got the win.   This matchup could get very heated by the end of the night. 

Kevin Garnett vs Antawn Jamison
Garnett        PPG 19.2 RPG 10.00 APG 3.6 EFF + 26.73
Jamison        PPG 21.6 RPG 10.60 APG 1.5 EFF + 22.27
KG was outplayed by Jamison in Saturday's game.  He finished with 10 points, 16 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals while KG had 9 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks.  KG will be playing for pride in this one and I expect a big game from him on both ends of the floor. 

Keys to the Game
REBOUND  The Celtics have been out-rebounded by big margins in their last 2 games.  The Wizards had 26 second chance pointson Saturday.   They cannot allow teams to get 19 more rebounds than them.  Doc has got to keep his rebounders in the games and not spend so much time playing small ball. 

Consistent Effort and Energy  The Celtics have put in very lackluster performances in their last 3 games.  They won against the Nets but that had more to do with the Nets' collapse as it did with the Celtics effort.  Against the Wizards, the effort just wasn't there.   Much of rebounding is desire and effort and the Celtics just didn't have it.  They were getting beat to loose balls and on the boards and it will take a consistent effort to get this team back on track. 

Don't Settle for 3's.     The Wizards outscored the Celtics 30-20 in the paint and against the  Bobcats they were outscored 48-28 in the paint.  The Celtics have been settling for 3's and outside shots and those shots haven't been falling.  KG is even settling for outside shots.  They need to get back to driving to the hoop and getting into the paint. 
Defense   The Celtics swarming defense is what won them games early and allowed them to dominate teams.   In recent games, the Celtics have allowed teams way too many open shots and easy inside baskets.  The help defense just wasn't there and they seemed incapable of defending the pick and roll.   The Celtics have to get back to playing that tough team defense that they played up until recently. 
Ball Movement.     The Celtics have stopped moving the ball as they did early.  They were able to find the open man and take advantage of each player's strengths that way.  Recently, they have been settling for quick 3's and they have been allowing the shot clock to run down without getting a good shot off.  They have to get back to moving the ball and getting into their offensive sets quickly.    

The Celtics will be playing for pride in this one and will be at home with the crowd behind them.  Hopefully we will see a better effort than we have seen in the past 3 games. 

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