Washington Wizards (6-6) at Boston Celtics (8-7)
Friday, November 27, 2015
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #16 Home Game #10
TV: CSN-NE, Comcast Sportsnet,NBA-LP 755(DTV) /753(xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub, WNEW 99.1 FM
Referees: Ed Malloy, Brian Forte, Eli Roe
The Celtics had lost 3 of 4 before just barely squeaking past the winless Philadelphia 76ers. The Wizards have lost their last 2 games with the latest being a 101-87 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday. They held a 9 point lead with less than 9 minutes to go in the game and then missed their final 17 shots on the way to a 6 point fourth quarter.
Both teams have been inconsistent this season. The Celtics will blow out the Nets one night and then be blown out by them two nights later. The Wizards will give up 96.5 points in their wins but then give up 116.3 points in their losses. Both teams are searching for consistency. Youth could be the Celtics excuse but I'm not sure what the Wizards excuse is.
PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Jae Crowder
PF: Amir Johnson
C: Jared Sullinger
Marcus Smart (leg) out
PG: John Wall
SG: Bradley Beal
SF: Otto Porter
PF: Kris Humphries
C: Marcin Gortat
Alan Anderson (ankle) out
Martell Webster (hip) out
Isaiah Thomas vs John Wall
This will be a tough matchup for the Celtics without Marcus Smart. Wall is averaging 16.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 7.9 assists. The Celtics need Isaiah's offense, but he is going to struggle to keep Wall from having a big game.
Avery Bradley vs Bradley Beal
Beal is averaging 20.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. He is shooting 42.3% from beyond the arc. Avery will have his hands full defending Beal and won't be able to switch onto Wall if Isaiah struggles to defend him.
Keys to the Game
Play Strong for 48 Minutes - In some games the Celtics start strong but then struggle to make shots and turn the ball over allowing the other team to get a lead. In other games they struggle out of the gate and then spend the rest of the game trying to catch up. They need to give a consistent effort for the entire game.
Unleash the Offense - Somebody, anybody, will need to get hot. The Celtics have struggled to score in each of their losses. They have missed many shots they should have made. They shoot 58% against the Nets and then shoot 34% against the winless Sixers. It would be nice for them to get the offense back on track and start hitting shots consistently.
Defense - The Celtics need to continue to make defense a priority. Defense wins games. The Celtics allowed just 80 points to the Sixers but mostly because the Sixers couldn't hit their shots and not because the Celtics were playing great defense before the final 6 minutes. Before that game, they allowed 121 points to the Hawks and 111 to the Brooklyn Nets. They have to get back to playing team defense.
Take Care of the Ball - The Celtics are averaging 16.4 turnovers per game, which is too many. They have to focus and make sharper passes and not give the Wizards extra possessions by turning it over.
Be Aggressive - The Celtics need to be the more aggressive team from start to finish. They need to be aggressive in going to the hoop, in crashing the boards, in fighting for loose balls and in running the court. They also have to be more aggressive on defense. They have to be the team that wants it more.
Pride - The Celtics lost to the Nets and the Hawks and came close to being the first team to lose to the Sixers in 26 straight games. They need to dig down and get back to playing Celtics basketball, especially on the defensive end.
Officiating - The officiating is always an x-factor. Even when they call the game evenly, the Celtics do better when they let them play rather than try to micromanage the game. And of course, there are always the cases where the calls all go one way or the other. The officiating shouldn't matter, but it does.
Malloy has officiated 830 regular season NBA games, 54 playoff games and four NBA Finals games, over the past 13 seasons. Prior to joining the NBA, Malloy officiated for one season in the NBA D-League, three seasons in the CBA and three seasons in the WNBA. He worked the 2002 NBA D-League Finals and the 2001 CBA Finals.
Malloy is very quick to call technicals and in the past has ejected Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett for 2 quick techicals, all 3 of which had one or both rescinded by the league afterwards. He has called games in the past that were lopsided against the Celtics as well as some that were lopsided in favor of the Celtics so you never know which Malloy will show up. In one game against the Pacers last season he made several terrible calls down the stretch including an out of bounds call that was obviously wrong and gave the game to Indiana. The Pacers shot 34 free throws to 16 for the Celtics. This same officiating crew called the game at Houston this season and were good. Mike mentioned that you didn't notice the refs and that's the best compliment that he could give them. The Celtics are 1-0 this season and 2-8 in their last 10 games with Malloy while the Wizards are 7-3 in their last 10. His home W/L record is 8-4.
Brian Forte, who is the son of retired NBA referee Joe Forte, has officiated 465 regular season games and five Playoff game in seven NBA seasons. He also officiated the 2011 NBA All-Star Rookie/Sophmore game. He worked for six seasons in the NBA D-League, officiating 126 games. During that time he worked two Finals. He also officiated in several college conferences, including the Southern Conference, where he officiated the 2007 conference tournament final, and the Southeastern Conference, where he officiated the 2007 conference tournament. Forte also was selected to officiate the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
Forte was the object of Tommy's wrath in the classic rant that follows (the T was later rescinded). The officiating in that game was bad both ways.
Eli Roe has officiated 558 regular season games during his first 10 NBA seasons. Prior to joining the NBA staff, Roe officiated in the CBA, NBA Development League and WNBA. He officiated in the NBA D-League Finals for two years, the D-League playoffs for four years and the WNBA Playoffs for two years. At the collegiate level, Roe refereed in the SEC, ASUN and OVC conferences and numerous Division II and III, NAIA and Juco league games. He also worked in four Division I postseason conference tournaments.
Roe tends to be inconsistent in his calls and can make the calls favor one team over another on any given night. He is also inconsistent with block/charge calls. In Roe's final game with the Celtics 2 seasons ago, a win over the Clippers, Roe made so many bad calls that Tommy yelled "Eli! I hate Eli! I hate him!" He's been decent in the Celtics games he's called recently, however. The games with Roe last season were well officiated. The Celtics are 2-0 this season and 9-1 in their last 10 games with Roe. The Wizards are 6-4 in their last 10 games with Roe. Roe's home W/L record this season is 6-5.