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No Snow Days for the Celtics as they complete back to back against Wizards

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The Celtics travel from Philly to Washington DC to take on the Wizards for the 4rh and final time this season.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

at
Boston Celtics (24-21) at Wizards (20-21)
Regular Season Game #46, Road Game #24
Monday, January 25, 2016
7:00 PM ET
TV: CSN-NE, Comcast Sportsnet, NBA-LP 750(DTV)/751(Xfinity)
Radio: WZLX 100.7, WNEW 99.1 FM
Verizon Center

Referees: Pat Fraher, Curtis Blair, Mark Lindsay

The Celtics travel to Washington DC to take on the Wizards for the 4th and final time this season. The Celtics lead the season series 3-0 so far. They won both of the games in Boston and then pulled out a close win in Washington on January 16.

That game got a bit chippy with the game going down to the wire. Jae Crowder was given a technical for responding to taunts from the Wizards head coach. Jae contended that Wittman was cursing at him and saying inappropriate things, which Wittman later denied doing. Jae then hit the game winning layup with 3.9 seconds left with John Wall missing a layup at the buzzer to seal the win for the Celtics.

The Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games thanks to the snowstorm that postponed their game against the Sixers until Sunday. The Celtics are 7-3 overall on the second night of back to back games and 2-0 in road/road back to back sets. The Celtics are 12-11 on the road while the Wizards have struggled at home with a 10-13 record. The Wizards are well rested and have not played since Wednesday since their Saturday game was postponed due to weather.

With the win in Philadelphia, the Celtics have moved all the way up to the 5th spot in the East. This win moves them half a game ahead of Indiana, Detroit and Miami, who are all tied record wise and sit in 6th, 7th and 8th place in the East. The Wizards sit in 9th place 2 games behind the Celtics. The Celtics are 2 games behind Atlanta, who are in the 4th spot.

The Celtics are pretty much healthy with just Jordan Mickey out with an ankle injury. The Wizards are about to get healthier with Drew Gooden (calf) and Otto Porter (hip) both expected to return for this game. Porter has missed 4 games with a hip injury and may return to the starting lineup or may come off the bench to get his legs back before starting again. Kris Humphries (knee) and Alan Anderson (ankle) are both out for this game.


Probable Starters

PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Jae Crowder
PF: Amir Johnson
C: Jared Sullinger

Celtics Reserves

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

Head Coach
Brad Stevens

Injuries
Jordan Mickey (ankle) out


Probable Starters

PG: John Wall
SG: Bradley Beal
SF: Kelly Oubre
PF: Jared Dudley
C: Marcin Gortat

Wizards Reserves
DeJuan Blair
Drew Gooden
Ramon Sessions
Garrett Temple
Jarell Eddie
Gary Neal
Garrett Temple

Head Coach
Randy Wittman

Injuries

Alan Anderson (ankle) out
Kris Humphries (knee) day to day
Otto Porter (hip) probable
Drew Gooden (calf) probable


Key Matchups
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Isaiah Thomas vs John Wall
Wall is averaging 20.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 9.7 assists. The Celtics need Isaiah's offense, but he is going to struggle to keep Wall from having a big game. Expect to see Bradley or Smart on Wall if he starts to go off.

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Avery Bradley vs Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal missed 16 games with a stress reaction in his leg. He is shooting 52% from the field and 53% from beyond the arc in the 4 games since his return from the injury. Beal is averaging 19.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.1 assists for the year. Beal may come off the bench again or he may return to the starting lineup but the matchup will be Bradley vs Beal, even if Garrett Temple starts.

Honorable Mention
Jared Sullinger vs Marcin Gortat
Gortat always seems to play well against the Celtics. He is averaging 13.6 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. He is strong and can alter shots around the basket. He can also get rebounds and putbacks if not boxed out.

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 as they did against the Sixers.

Defense - The Celtics need to continue to make defense a priority. Defense wins games. They especially need to contain the Wizards' talented back court. Their defense looked better against the Bulls and they need to continue to play tough team defense.

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.

Play as a Team - The Celtics need to play team ball. They have to move the ball and find the open man with the best shot. When they lapse into hero ball where each player tries to make the home run play, they usually struggle. They play the best when they are moving the ball and racking up assists and playing as a team.

X-Factors
Back to Back - The Celtics have made it a point of pride to play their best on the second night of back to back games. Hopefully they continue that in this game. There are extenuating circumstances for the Celtics also. Their game on Sunday had been postponed from Saturday due to the storm and they had to travel on game day for Sunday's game and then turn around and travel to this game.

Revenge Factor
- The Celtics have beaten the Wizards 184 times out of the 293 that they have faced each other. And the Celtics wins have more often than not been blowouts. Add that to the altercations in their last game 9 days ago and their coach denying Crowder's accusations, and the Wizards are a team looking for revenge. They will be motivated and the Celtics need to be equally motivated to play better.

Officiating - Officiating will be an X-Factor for every game. Every crew has their own way of calling the games and they have their own agendas. Will they call it fairly or in favor of one team or the other? Will they let them play or call every little contact? The way the game is called always has an effect on the players.

Official Report
Pat Fraher

Pat Fraher has officiated 856 regular season NBA games and 22 Playoff games entering his 15th season in the NBA. Prior to joining the NBA, Fraher officiated for seven years in the CBA, where he worked the CBA Finals and All-Star game. In addition, Fraher spent four years with the WNBA, where he officiated playoff games in both the WNBA Eastern and Western Conference Finals. Fraher also has two years of collegiate officiating experience with the NSIC and 10 years of experience as a high school official in his home state of Minnesota.

This is the Celtics first game with Fraher this season. They are 4-6 over their last 10 games with Fraher. He hasn't been particularly bad in the past. The Wizards are 1-1 this season and 7-3 over their last 10 games officiated by Fraher. He is a homer ref with a home W/L record this season of 22-7.

Curtis Blair

Curtis Blair is entering his ninth NBA season having officiated 383 regular season games. Blair has six seasons of NBA D-League experience and worked the 2008 NBA D-League Finals. He also officiated in several college conferences, including the Atlantic 10, Atlantic Coast Conference and the CAA. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets in 1992 and played professionally in Australia, Austria and Turkey.

Like most refs, Blair has been good and bad in previous Celtics games. He called the Clippers game with Goble two seasons ago that very much favored the Clippers. In his final game with the Celtics last season against OKC, the game was called fairly in the first half, but in the third quarter, OKC took 15 free throws to 4 for the Celtics with many bad calls going in favor of the Thunder. The 4th was again called fairly evenly, but with every ticky tack foul called, there was no flow to the game. This season, he called the Bulls game and in that game they let them play and the officiating was good. Blair calls an average of 45.2 fouls per game with 51.5% of those being called on the road team. The Celtics are 2-0 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 games with Blair while the Wizards are 4-6 in their last 10. His home W/L record is 18-11.


Mark Lindsay

Mark Lindsay has officiated 479 regular season games and one playoff game in his eight NBA seasons. Prior to working in the NBA, he worked for five seasons in the NBA Development League, officiating 116 games, including playoff games in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Lindsay received a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education and graduated with honors from West Chester University where he was a three year letterman on the Men’s Varsity Basketball team. He later worked as a teacher and a real estate sales agent and officiated in several college conferences, including the ACC, Colonial Athletic Association, Atlantic Sun, Big South and Ohio Valley Conferences before joining the NBA.

The Celtics are 2-0 this season and 3-7 in their last 10 games with Lindsay making the calls. One win last season was a 101-95 win over Chicago where the Bulls shot 31 free throws to 16 for the Celtics and there were more than a few questionable calls. But then, he called a game vs the Mavs where the Celtics shot 30 free throws to 17 for the Mavs and the Celtics got the benefit of some questionable calls. In a game last season vs the Cavs the officiating was terrible, with bad calls going both ways. Tommy had this to say about it: "I don't remember when there was such a plethora of terrible calls throughout." Lindsay also called the game vs the Bulls with Jason Phillips where the Celtics took 11 free throws to 40 for the Bulls and where Tommy described it as an abomination and not even close to a decently officiated game.

Lindsay also called the Lakers game, where calls were going against the Celtics throughout the game. Isaiah Thomas was ejected on a bogus call and that technical was later rescinded. Smart and Zeller fouled out and the Lakers shot 38 free throws to 27 for the Celtics. One comment from the Lakers board says it all: "The refs are screwing our tank." He can be good and he can be bad depending on the night. The Wizards are 2-0 this season and 8-2 in in their last 10 with Lindsay. His home W/L record this season is 20-13.