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Celtics host Paul Pierce and the Wizards

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The Celtics will look to win 3 in a row for the first time as they host Paul Pierce, Kris Humphries and the Wizards.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


at
Washington Wizards (13-5) at Boston Celtics (6-11)
Sunday, December 7, 2014
1:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #18 Home Game #12
TV: CSN-NE, Comcast Sportsnet,NBA-LP 751(DTV) /751, 753(xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub, WNEW 99.1 FM
TD Garden


Paul Pierce returns to Boston for the first time as a Washington Wizard. Kris Humphries also returns to Boston for the first time after his year with the Celtics. Both are playing very well for the Wizards and have been among the reason that they are off to their best start since 1974.

The Wizards won the series last season 3 games to 1. This is the first of three meetings this season. These two teams will meet again on Monday night in Washington in a home and home series. Their third and final meeting will be on December 27.

After losing 5 games in a row, the Celtics have their first 2 game win streak going. The Wizards come into this game on a 4 game win streak. The Celtics won't have as easy a time with the Wizards as they did with the Lakers, particularly because of the Wizards' defense. They are holding teams to 42.8% shooting and are 12-0 when holding opponents to under 100. This will be a good test of whether the Celtics can keep it together against a team that plays tough defense.



Probable Starters

PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Jeff Green
PF: Jared Sullinger
C: Tyler Zeller

Celtics Reserves

Phil Pressey
Evan Turner
Marcus Thornton
Brandon Bass
Dwight Powell
Kelly Olynyk
James Young
Gerald Wallace
Marcus Smart

Injuries

Vitor Faverani (knee) out



Probable Starters

PG: John Wall
SG: Bradley Beal
SF: Paul Pierce
PF: Kris Humphries
C: Marcin Gortat

Wizards Reserves
Rasual Butler
Otto Porter
Nene Hilario
Kevin Seraphin
Andre Miller
DeJuan Blair
Garrett Temple
Drew Gooden
Glen Rice Jr

Injuries
Martell Webster (back) out

Key Matchups
vs
Rajon Rondo vs John Wall
Wall is playing very well, averaging 17.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 9.8 assists. Rondo leads the league in assists, but Wall is in the top 5. After being slighted for the All Star Game in favor of Rondo, Wall always takes this matchup personally. Rondo is coming off a very strong game vs the Lakers and hopefully he will pick up where he left off in that game.

vs
Jeff Green vs Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce is one of the reasons that the Wizards are off to a strong start. He is playing very well and averaging 12.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists a game. Green did a very good job containing Kobe in the last game and the Celtics will look to him to contain Pierce in this one.

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 4th in the league in 3 point percentage at 37.7%. But the Celtics can't ignore the paint either as Gortat can go strong to the basket as can their guards. The Celtics need to play team defense as the Wizards have a balanced attack and so the Celtics have to play good defense across the board.

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.

Rebound - The Celtics must crash the boards and put out extra effort to grab rebounds. The Wizards are good at getting out on the break when they can get defensive rebounds and they are also good at getting put backs and second chance points when they get offensive rebounds.

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. They have to be the team that wants it more and plays harder. They have been aggressive in their last two games, both wins, and they must remain aggressive if they want to have a chance to win this one.

X-Factors
Home and Paul Pierce
The Celtics are at home and should get a boost from playing in front of the home crowd. Paul Pierce always puts out extra effort against his former team and has said that he will score 30 in this one. A big game from him could be the difference in this game.