You could be forgiven if you had a feeling of déjà vu on Monday night, as the Celtics took the court without a whopping five players due to injury (or, in Gordon Hayward’s case, illness). And yet, despite the many absences, they found a way to will themselves to a win against Anthony Davis and the playoff-hopeful New Orleans Pelicans.
In other words, the Hospital Celtics are back!
Now, tonight, the Celtics travel to the nation’s capital to face the Washington Wizards team that has seen little go according to plan in their own way. Projected this summer to be somewhere around a mid-tier playoff team in the Eastern Conference, the Wizards have limped their way to a record of just 11-16 and the 10th seed, with the fifth-worst point differential in the conference. Along the way, their franchise players, John Wall and Bradley Beal, have reportedly feuded with coaches and management and become the subject of near-endless trade speculation.
As if persistent locker room drama and inconsistent play on the court weren’t enough, the Wizards have struggled with injury woes of their own, as well. Wall missed the team’s matchup against Indiana on Monday due to soreness in his heel, while key starter Otto Porter Jr. suffered a knee contusion in the same game and was forced out of the contest. Meanwhile, mercurial center Dwight Howard, the “crown jewel” of their offseason, has appeared in just nine games, and figures to miss the next several months after undergoing spinal surgery.
For the Celtics, these injury struggles have proven to be a valuable opportunity for players on the fringes of the primary rotation, especially in the frontcourt. Against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, Daniel Theis enjoyed a career night, with 21 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks. On Monday against New Orleans, rookie Robert Williams did likewise, posting 7 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks and acquitting himself well against the likes of Anthony Davis in the process.
For the Wizards, things haven’t been quite so rosy. They enter play tonight having lost two consecutive games — an embarrassing 15-point defeat to the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, and an attempted comeback against the Indiana Pacers that fell just short.
Both teams hope to be at least a little healthier for tonight’s game, as Kyrie Irving did not appear on the initial injury report and Wall was listed as “probable.” Aron Baynes is expected to be available for limited minutes, but Al Horford and Gordon Hayward are not expected to play. Porter Jr. received a “questionable” tag. After tonight, the Celtics will return home to host the Atlanta Hawks on Friday at 7 PM.
PG — Kyrie Irving - John Wall
SG — Marcus Smart - Bradley Beal
SF — Jayson Tatum - Kelly Oubre Jr
PF — Marcus Morris - Markieff Morris
C — Daniel Theis - Thomas Bryant
Boston — Al Horford (knee), Gordon Hayward (illness), Aron Baynes (ankle), Guerschon Yabusele (ankle) Jabari Bird (personal)
Washington — Otto Porter Jr (knee), Dwight Howard (gluteal)
How to Watch
Time – 7:00 PM EST
TV – NBC Sports Boston