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Short handed Celtics finish road trip with a visit to the Wizards

Short handed Celtics try to get back into the winning column as they take on the Wizards on the road.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Celtics (14-29) at Wizards (20-20)
Regular Season Game #44, Road Game #23
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
7:00 PM ET
TV: CSN-NE, Comcast Sportsnet, NBA-LP 758(DTV)/752(Xfinity)
Verizon Center
Referees: Bill Kennedy, John Goble, Olandis Poole

Game Thread l Chat
The Celtics visit the Wizards for the 2nd of 4 games between these two teams this season. The Celtics lost to the Wizards 106-99 in Boston in their first meeting.

The Celtics are playing in back to back games and so fatigue may become a factor in this game. With Gortat and Nene in the front line, the Celtics may struggle to get to the basket and grab rebounds. The Celtics bigs are going to need to hustle and be very aggressive to get anything.

Avery Bradley went down with a sprained ankle in Tuesday's game and is out for this game and probably a week or two If he can't play, the Celtics will very much miss his defense on Beal and they will be short handed at the two guard position. I'm taking a wild guess that Wallace will start at the 2 guard, but Brad Stevens may just surprise everyone and start Chris Johnson after his showing in the last game.

They are signing Vander Blue of the D League to a 10 day contract and expect him to be with the team for this game. Chris Johnson, also on a 10 day contract came up big for the Celtics against the Heat and hopefully will have another big game in this one. It's also not certain whether Rondo will play in back to back games this early in his rehab. If he doesn't Phil Pressey may have to play the whole game.

Probable Starters
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Gerald Wallace
SF: Jeff Green
PF: Jared Sullinger
C: Kris Humphries

Celtics Reserves
Kelly Olynyk
Brandon Bass
Vitor Faverani
Phil Pressey
Joel Anthony
Chris Johnson
Vander Blue

Keith Bogans (personal) out
Jerryd Bayless (toe)) out
Avery Bradley (ankle) out
Brandon Bass (?) probable

Probable Starters

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

Wizards Reserves
Martell Webster
Garrett Temple
Kevin Seraphin
Otto Porter
Eric Maynor
Chris Singleton
Jan Vesely


Al Harrington (knee) out
Glen Rice, Jr (wrist) out
Trevor Booker (ankle) questionable

Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs John Wall
Wall is playing very well, averaging 20.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 8.5 assists. Rondo will need to slow him down and also make him work on the defensive end.

Avery Bradley vs Bradley Beal
Avery will have his hands full with Beal, who is averaging 17.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists. With Avery's improved offense, he should make Beal work on defense as well.

Keys to the Game
Play 48 Minutes - The Celtics have been getting off to fast starts and have closed strong but have let up in the middle. They need to play hard for 48 minutes and avoid the slumps.

Defense - The Celtics need to especially defend the 3 point line. Washington is one of the better 3-point shooting teams in the NBA. But they can't ignore the paint either as Gortat and Nene can go strong to the basket as can their guards. The Celtics need to play team defense as the Wizards have 6 players averaging 11 points or more per game so they have to cover everyone.

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.

Fatigue and Injuries
The Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games after a tough game in Miami on Tuesday so fatigue may be a factor for them. Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass both left the game with injuries. Avery will miss the game and so the Celtics will be short handed at the guard position, having to depend on two new guys on 10 day contracts.

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