Washington Wizards (11-36) at Boston Celtics (25-22)
Sunday, March 25
6:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #48, Home Game #25
TV: CSN-NE, Comcast Sportsnet, NBA-LP 753 (Wiz)/754(C's)
Radio: WEEI, WJFK
This is the 4th and final meeting between these two teams. The Celtics have won all 3 of the previous games. The Wizards may come out of the gate strong in order to avoid being swept by the Celtics in the regular season. These aren't the same Wizards the Celtics faced in the 1st 3 meetings. Only John Wall has started in all 4 games. The addition of Nene makes them much tougher inside.
The Wizards are 3-7 in their last 10 games while the Celtics are 5-5 in their last 10 games, going 4-4 on their extended road trip. The Celtics are finally back home after 2 weeks on the road and they will look to improve their 16-8 home record. The Wizards are 5-13 on the road.
The Celtics will be short handed, as they have been many times this season. But, they will have a much brighter outlook after finding that teammate Mickael Pietrus will return this season, likely sooner than later. As they have done all season, the players on the court must give a little extra to fill in for those who are on the sidelines.
The Wizards are lottery bound and are in the next to last place in the East. They are playing for ping pong balls and for their future but still might be a dangerous team since they also are playing for pride and don't want to be swept. They came within 3 points of beating Atlanta on Saturday and Nene makes them a much better team. We have to hope that being home will be good for what ails the Celtics and that they can pull together in spite of all the injuries.
PG SG SF PF C
Rajon Rondo...Ray Allen...Paul Pierce...Brandon Bass... Kevin Garnett
Ray Allen (ankle) day to day
Avery Bradley (ankle) day to day
Mickael Pietrus (concussion) day to day
Jermaine O'Neal (wrist) out
Greg Stiemsma (foot) probable
PG SG SF PF C
John Wall...Jordan Crawford....Chris Singleton...Trevor Booker...Nene
Roger Mason Jr
Andre Blatche (conditioning) out
Rashard Lewish (knee) out
Rajon Rondo vs John Wall
This is for Kentucky Pride. Both point guards will be looking to prove they are the best PG out of Kentucky. The Celtics need Rondo to be aggressive and to set the pace of the game.
Kevin Garnett vs Nene
This will be Nene's 3rd game with the Wizards with mixed results so far. In his first game, he had 22 points and 10 rebounds against the Nets, but in his second game vs the Pacers, he only managed 6 points and 5 rebounds. Last night vs Atlanta, he bounced back with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Nene is a tough matchup but he is still learning the Wizards system. KG needs to be aggressive in this one and hope to get Nene in foul trouble early.
Keys to the Game
Rebound The Celtics must crash the boards and keep the Wizards from getting second chance points, fast break opportunities and extra possessions. The Celtics have been doing much better in recent games on the boards but they must continue to improve and to rebound as a team.
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. When the Celtics clamp down on defense the rest of their game picks up. Against Philly, they played very good defense to start the game but then allowed way too many easy baskets in the second half. They have to defend for 48 minutes in this one.
Be Aggressive The Celtics need to play aggressively. They need to take the ball to the hoop and not settle for jumpers. They also have to go for every loose ball and battle for all the rebounds. The Wizards will be looking to avoid a season sweep to the Celtics and so they will be playing hard and the Celtics need to match their intensity.
Limit Turnovers - The Celtics turn the ball over way too much. The tend to make lazy passes and lose focus from time to time and give their opponents easy scoring opportunities because of it. They seem to lose focus at points in the game and then turn the ball over several times in a row. They have got to keep their focus and take better care of the ball.
A winner of the Vanguard Club Achievement Award in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in the field of sports, NBA veteran official Michael Smith has officiated 1,078 regular season and 28 playoff games, as well as the 1997 Schick Rookie Game, the 2000 Mexico Challenge and the 2003 NBA Europe Games. In addition to his 17 seasons of NBA officiating experience, Smith has five years of CBA
officiating experience and eight years of collegiate officiating experience in the Big Ten, SEC and Conference USA. Smith also has 10 years of high school officiating experience, and was a member of the crew that officiated the 1990 McDonald’s High School All-America Game. The Celtics are 1-0 with Smith this season and 6-4 over their last 10 games. The win was at Orlando where the Magic shot 31 free throws to 19 for the Celtics. The Wizards are 0-1 this season and 2-8 over their last 10 games with Smith. Smith was one of the referees Mark Cuban received a $75,000 fine for criticizing in an OKC/Mavs game this season. His home W/L record is 20-18.
John Goble enters his fourth season having officiated 259 regular season games and seven playoff games. He also officiated the 2010 NBA All-Star Rookie/Sophomore game. Prior to working in the NBA, Goble officiated 104 games over four seasons in the NBA Development League and was selected to officiate the 2007 D-League Finals. He also officiated in several college conferences. Seems odd that Goble already has worked the playoffs with just 3 years of experience and others have been in the league 12 years or more and haven't cracked the playoff rotation yet. The Celtics are 2-0 this season and 7-3 over their last 10 games that Goble has officiated. The officiating was fairly even in both games this season. The Wizards are 0-1 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 games with Goble. His home W/L record this season is 19-21.
Karl Lane is one of four new officials for the 2011-12 NBA season. Lanes’ experience includes four seasons and 167 games officiated in the D-League. He also has four seasons of NBA preseason game experience and has worked in NBA summer camps for six years. was one of the replacement refs during the recent referee strike. In addition to his professional experience, Lane officiated collegiate games for nine years and has nine years of high school officiating experience.
Lane worked for the Pulaski County Special School District in Little Rock, AR as an In‐School Suspension Teacher for 2 years before beginning his career as a referee.
This is his 4th game officiating for the Celtics. The Celtics are 3-0 in those games. In the last game vs the Cavaliers, Lane got under Tommy's skin a bit and after 3 bad calls in a row, Tommy said "This guy doesn't have a clue. His name's Lane. They should show him the highway." This is his fifth game for the Wizards and they are 3-2 in those games. His home W/L record this season is 17-14.
Home and Injuries
Ray, Avery and Mickael are all listed as day to day. Greg Stiemsma is still playing on a very sore foot. The Celtics probably won't know for sure who is playing until just before game time. Who knows if we will have enough players to even field a team the way things have been going. They will be at home again after 2 long weeks on the road and home cooking might just be what they need to give them a boost in this game.