Boston Celtics (10-17) at Wizards (20-8)
Regular Season Game #28, Road Game #12
Saturday, December 27, 2014
7:00 PM ET
TV: CSN-NE, Comcast Sportsnet, NBA-LP 753(DTV)/751(Xfinity)
Radio: 100.7 WZLX, WNEW 99.1 FM
Referees: James Capers, Mitchell Ervin, Tre Maddox
The Celtics will face Paul Pierce and the Washington Wizards for the 3rd and final time this season. They have split the series 1-1 so far, playing a back to back home and home set. The Celtics won 101-93 in Boston while the Wizards won a wild double OT game 133-132 in Washington.
The Celtics are 3-8 on the road while the Wizards are 13-4 at home. The Celtics are on a 3 game losing streak and are coming off a loss to former Celtic Kevin Garnett and the Nets. The Wizards are coming off a win over the Knicks on Christmas Day and looking for their second straight win. The Celtics have lost 6 of their last 7 games on the road, with their only win coming against the league worst Sixers.
Marcus Smart had a career high 23 points in his last game against the Nets as he led a 4th quarter comeback, keeping Rajon Rondo on the bench through the 4th quarter and two overtimes. He was back in the starting lineup for the Celtics loss to the Nets, after one game coming off the bench, and I expect him to get another start in this one.
PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Jeff Green
PF: Jared Sullinger
C: Tyler Zeller
Marcus Thornton (calf) out
James Young (shoulder) day to day
PG: John Wall
SG: Bradley Beal
SF: Paul Pierce
C: Marcin Gortat
Glen Rice Jr
Martell Webster (back) out
Marcus Smart vs John Wall
Wall averaged 21.5 points and 15.5 assists in the two games against the Celtics this season. He will no longer have Rondo to deal with but perhaps having Marcus Smart guarding him may be even tougher.
Jeff Green vs Paul Pierce
Pierce averaged 22 points on 68% shooting in the two games this season. He always plays well vs the Celtics and Green once again will be called on to slow Pierce while also making him work on the defensive end by hitting his shots.
Keys to the Game
Defense - The Celtics need to especially defend the 3 point line, an area that they have struggled this season. Washington is the best 3 point shooting team in the league, hitting 39% from beyond the arc. But they also have to guard the paint where Gortat and Nene are both very tough.
Pace and Space - 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. The Celtics are playing back to back and so energy may be a factor at the end of the game.
Rebound - The Celtics must crash the boards and put out extra effort to grab rebounds to keep the Wizards from getting second chance baskets and fast breaks. They have to rebound as a team and each player needs to work hard on the boards.
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 for 48 minutes. They have to be the team that wants it more and plays harder.
Road and Back to Back
The Celtics are on the road where they have tended to struggle this season. They need to focus and play hard in spite of the hostile environment. They are also playing in the second of back to back games and hopefully their depth will help them have energy left at the end.
The son of former NBA official James Capers Sr., James Capers has officiated 1,110 regular season games, 67 Playoff games and three NBA Finals games during his 19-season NBA career. In addition to his NBA experience, Capers has six years of CBA officiating experience, including three CBA Finals and two CBA All-Star Games. I've seen several posts from Lakers fans who swear he hates the Lakers. At least he has that in his favor. In 2012, Capers called game 2 of the ECF and the officiating was terrible in that game. The Heat shot 47 free throws to 29 for the Celtics. Pierce, Dooling and Pietrus all fouled out. There were bad calls and missed calls throughout the game. Lebron James took 24 free throws himself, only 4 less than the entire Celtics team.
He was lead official in the Nets game that resulted in a brawl the season before last. Capers gave Doc a T for yelling to Rondo. They let the Nets get away with pushing and shoving and hard fouls the entire first half. The Nets shot 17 free throws to 5 for the Celtics in the first half and 3 of those free throws were on technicals. They did better in the second half after the brawl, but the refs' failure to call the game evenly in the first half led to the fight. Both teams are 4-6 in their last 10 games with Capers. His home W/L record this season is 13-9.
Ervin is listed as a non-staff referee for this season. He worked 123 games in the NCAA from 2009-2014. He is currently also calling games in the D-League. Other than that, there isn't much available about him. The Celtics lost the only game he called for the Celtics over his career and this is his first game with the Wizards. His home W/L record this season is 3-3.
Tre Maddox enters his fourth NBA season having officiated 152 regular season games. Maddox’s experience includes four seasons and 158 games officiated in the D-League. He also has five seasons of NBA preseason game experienece and worked in NBA summer camps for five years.
In addition to his professional experience, Maddox officiated collegiate games for six years in the PAC 10, West Coast and Pac West Conferences and has eight years of high school officiating experience. The Celtics are 5-4 over his career as a referee. He has been a decent ref for most of those. The Wizards are 7-3 in their last 10 games with Maddox. His home W/L record this season is 10-10.