(29-16) at (16-30)
Referees: Dan Crawford, John Goble, Tommy Nunez Jr
Game Thread l Chat
The Celtics are playing in their 4th game in 4 different cities over the span of 5 days. They have faced 3 of their top competitors as they played the Magic, Hawks, and Lakers in succession. Two of those games were lost in heartbreaking fashion on a last second shot after the Celtics gave up big 4th quarter leads.
As much as the Wizards have been dealing with, they still have won their last 2 games while the Celtics have lost their last 3 games. The Celtics are 3-7 in their last 10 games while the Wizards are a slightly better 4-6 in their last 10. The Celtics are 16-8 on the road while the Wizards are 9-15 at home. The key for the Celtics will be the fact that they have just gone through a gauntlet of tough games and whether they still have enough in the tank to beat this team that they should easily beat.
The Celtics have been struggling, but they are still working their way back to health. They are still missing Marquis Daniels and his absence leaves a big hole in their second unit. Without Daniels, it has meant more minutes for the starters and we are left without a playmaker off the bench. On the other hand, the Wizards are healthy, but are missing two key players as Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton have been suspended by the league for violating the gun policy. The Celtics still should win this game but who knows how much the last 5 days have taken out of them. Fatigue will be a big factor in this game. The Celtics desperately need a win in this game to stop the bleeding and get them back on track. Hopefully they will have enough in the tank to get one.
PG SG SF PF C
Rajon Rondo/ Ray Allen/ Paul Pierce/ Kevin Garnett/ Kendrick Perkins
PG SG SF PF C
Randy Foye/ Mike Miller/ Caron Butler/ Antawn Jamison/ Brendan Haywood
Kevin Garnett vs Antawn Jamison
KG is still working himself back to shape. Doc insists that he is healthy but just out of basketball shape. Jamison has been playing very well for Washington and will look to challenge KG.
Paul Pierce vs Caron Butler
This is always a good matchup. Pierce has looked to be a bit more assertive in recent games and will more than likely continue that trend in this game. Butler is one of the focal points of the Wizards offense also.
Rajon Rondo vs Randy Foye
This should be a somewhat easier matchup for Rondo than the last 3 have been. He was fantastic against the Lakers. Hopefully he didn't spend all his energy in that game because the Celtics are going to need him to be aggressive in this game as well.
Keys to the Game
Defense - Defense is the key to winning every game. The Celtics have been playing defense in spurts. Defense takes effort and the Celtics must get back to putting out that effort for the entire game and not just in spurts.
Rebound - The Celtics have struggled in this area this season and need to make an effort to improve their rebounding. Much of rebounding is effort and desire and the Celtics need to increase both in order to get back on the winning track.
Play Hard for 48 Minutes - Against the Lakers and the Magic, the Celtics gave up big leads in the second half. They have struggled to be consistent throughout games for much of this season. They either start sluggish and then have to put out a huge effort to catch up, or more commonly they get a big lead and then stop playing.
Bench Play - The bench has been wildly inconsistent. In some games they come in with energy and play great. In other games, they are invisible. They have to be more consistent in order for the Celtics to win more consistently.
The Celtics have been through a gauntlet in the past 4 days. Hopefully they have enough left to pull out this much needed win.