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Celtics look to snap 3 game losing streak as they host the Wizards

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The Celtics return home after their first road game looking to break a 3 game losing streak.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Wizards (3-1) at Boston Celtics (1-3)
Friday, November 6, 2015
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #5 Home Game #4
TV: CSN-NE, Comcast Sportsnet,NBA-LP 752(DTV) /752(xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub, WNEW 99.1 FM
TD Garden

Referees: Joey Crawford, Brent Barnaky, Justin VanDuyne

The Celtics return home after their first road game looking to break a 3 game losing streak. Their opponent for this game will be the Washington Wizards. The Wizards have 4 of their 5 starters from last year back again with Paul Pierce being the only one not returning for this season.

The Wizards are playing well and are looking for their 4th win on the season and their second straight. The only game that they lost this season was to the Knicks, while beating the Magic, the Bucks and the Spurs. They will definitely present a challenge to the Celtics.

The Celtics were 1-2 vs the Wizards last season with each team winning on their home court. In that Celtics win last season, Jeff Green led the Celtics in points while Rajon Rondo led them in rebounds and assists. Needless to say, the Celtics have changed a lot since their last meeting, even if the Wizards haven't.

Amir Johnson injured his ankle in their last game against the Pacers and is questionable for this game. Marcus Smart missed the last game with a sprained toe and is also questionable for this one. If Smart can't play expect Isaiah Thomas to once again get the start at the point with Evan Turner and Terry Rozier backing him up on the second unit.

I'm going to take a wild guess that if Amir is out, Brad Stevens will go back to the Sullinger/Zeller pairing that worked fairly well last season. But, he can also change things up completely trying to find a combination that works this season. With Stevens still experimenting with the rotations and lineups, looking for something that works, it's hard to tell what he will do.

Probable Starters

PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Jae Crowder
PF: Jared Sullinger
C: Tyler Zeller

Celtics Reserves

Evan Turner
RJ Hunter
Jonas Jerebko
David Lee
Terry Rozier
James Young
Kelly Olynyk
Jordan Mickey

Head Coach
Brad Stevens

Avery Bradley (finger) probable
Amir Johnson (ankle) questionable
Marcus Smart (toe) questionable

Probable Starters

PG: John Wall
SG: Bradley Beal
SF: Otto Porter
PF: Kris Humphries
C: Marcin Gortat

Wizards Reserves
DeJuan Blair
Jared Dudley
Gary Neal
Drew Gooden
Kelly Oubre
Ramon Sessions
Garrett Temple

Head Coach
Randy Wittman


Alan Anderson (ankle) out
Martell Webster (hip) out

Key Matchups
Isaiah Thomas (or Marcus Smart) vs John Wall
This will be a tough matchup for the Celtics if Smart can't play. Wall is averaging 20.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 8.3 assists. He is shooting 31.6% from beyond the arc. 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 25.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. He is shooting 46.4% from beyond the arc. Avery will have his hands full defending Beal.

Keys to the Game
Start Strong - The Celtics have been struggling in the first quarter and that has doomed them in their 3 losses. The Wizards have averaged 56.7 points in the first half in their wins and so the Celtics will need to get off to a good start on both ends of the court to avoid the Wizards from burying them before half time.

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. It would be nice for them to start hitting their shots and get the offense back on track.

Defense - The Celtics need to continue to make defense a priority. The Celtics are allowing 100.8 points per game on 41.5% shooting. They have to tighten their defense even more to slow the Wizards, who are averaging 104.5 points per game. Defense wins games.

Take Care of the Ball - The Celtics are averaging 17.3 turnovers per game, which is way too many if they want to get a win. 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 can't let the Wizards be more aggressive and expect to get a win.

Home Game - The Celtics are back at home where the crowd will be behind them and give them a little extra boost and motivation.

Injuries - The Celtics have injuries to a couple of key players. The ability of the other players to fill in and step up will be crucial.

Official Report
Joey Crawford

Over more than three decades in the NBA, Joe Crawford has officiated 2,556 regular season and 344 Playoff games, including 50 NBA Finals games. Crawford’s Playoff and NBA Finals totals are the most among active NBA officials. Over his career, Crawford has officiated the 1986, 1992 and 2000 NBA All-Star Games, as well as the 1993 McDonald’s Championship in Munich, Germany. Prior to joining the NBA, Crawford officiated in the Eastern League (CBA) from 1974-76.

There is no shortage of controversy surrounding Joey Crawford, the biggest of which was a suspension for tossing Tim Duncan for laughing on the bench and then challenging him to a fight. He is known for his quickness to call technical fouls but also doesn't tend to be influenced by the home crowd as much as many younger refs seem to be. In the 2008 Playoffs, Crawford was chosen to officiate Game 4 of the Western Conference final between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers. In the closing seconds of the game, there was a no-call where the Spurs' Brent Barry was unquestionably fouled by Derek Fisher. Crawford was the closest official to the call, and the NBA later apologized for the lack of a call. Crawford was also one of the refs who was involved in the income tax evasion scandal in 1998 and was suspended at that time as well as being sentenced to six months of house arrest and three years' probation Friday for federal income tax fraud.

He is widely viewed as one of the refs in the NBA who can officiate with an agenda and shows his biases on the court, hence the controversy that seems to follow him throughout his career. The Celtics are 4-6 in their last 10 games with Crawford. He hasn't been particularly bad or biased in any of the Celtics recent games. However, Joey Crawford is like the proverbial box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get on any given night. He is one referee in the league who doesn't seem to be influenced by the home crowd. In fact, at times he seems to delight in antagonizing the home fans. The Wizards are also 6-4 in their last 10 games with Crawford. His home W/L record this season is 1-2.

Brent Barnaky
Brent Barnaky enters his sixth NBA season having officiated 271 NBA games. Barnaky came to the NBA with 10 years of collegiate officiating experience in the Southeastern Conference, Big East, Conference USA and other college conferences as well. He completed three years of postseason officiating in the NIT (2008-2010). He officiated the 2008, 2009 and 2010 NBA D-League Playoffs, and the 2009 and 2010 NBA D-League Finals.

As with many of the refs, Barnaky can be good or very bad. The Celtics have had a couple of memorable games with Barnaky in the past. In a loss to the Pistons three seasons ago that Tommy Heinsohn called the worst officiated game all season, Rondo was ejected and the Pistons shot 46 free throws to 15 for the Celtics. In a game vs the Bucks last season, he allowed the Bucks to mug the Celtics all game and called ticky tack fouls on the Celtics but when the Celtics tried to commit an intentional foul to stop the clock, they wouldn't call it. The Celtics are 5-5 in their last 10 games with Barnaky while the Wizards are 4-6 in their last 10. His home W/L record is 1-2.

Justin Van Duyne

Justin Van Duyne is entering his second season having officiated 66 regular season games. Van Duyne joins the staff after four seasons as a referee in the NBA D-League, already having officiated 16 regular season NBA games as a non-staff official. Prior to joining the NBA, Van Duyne officiated in numerous college conferences including the PAC-12, Mountain West, Big West, WCC, and WAC. In his first season, Van Duyne was part of a poorly called game where the Timberwolves shot 32 free throws to just 9 for the Celtics and there were a number of questionable calls the entire game. Even Wolves fans were commenting on how many breaks they were getting. The Wizards are 7-1 with Van Duyne while the Celtics are 2-6 for his career. His home W/L record this season is 1-2.