Celtics (23-51) at Wizards (38-36)
April 2, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 106.7FM The Fan
Projected starting lineups:
C- Marcin Gortat
PF- Trevor Booker
SF- Trevor Ariza
SG- Bradley Beal
PG- John Wall
C- Kris Humphries
PF- Brandon Bass
SF- Jeff Green
SG- Avery Bradley
PG- Rajon Rondo
First meeting since..
January 22, 2014 @ Verizon Center
In what was just another tale of Washington’s early failures to climb over .500, an overtime thriller in Chinatown ended with the Wizards losing to the Celtics 113-111 on a last second John Wall miss.
The Wizards got fried defensively thanks to 39 points from Jeff Green and an unprecedented performance by rookie Phil Pressey who scored 20. Pressey started at point guard for Rajon Rondo and caught the Wizards backcourt offguard and backpedaling from the break. The Wizards trailed by 19 in this game but were eventually able to extend it to OT after a strong 3rd quarter. But alas, Gerald Wallace – the point guard – with the stunner in OT.
John Wall vs. Rajon Rondo
Tonight’s matchup is intriguing for many reasons. John Wall and Rajon Rondo are Kentucky brethren and apparently get along quite well. Rondo can be known as a malcontent who does things his own way or the highway but in this video he lends an ear when John Wall is doing the talking.
Rondo is in an interesting position as of late, as he finds himself recovering from a difficult injury and playing with a much less talented team than he has in years past. The other interesting position he’s been in as of late is broadcaster. No, really. He did color commentary for the Bulls game that he was inactive for on Monday.
Rondo is recovering from a gruesome injury, so he has found himself playing in a certain percentage of the weekly games on the Celtics schedule. With the playoffs out of reach for the Celtics, there isn’t much to gain for Rondo but getting back into the flow of things. Don’t expect John Wall to take it easy on him though because he might feel bad. If there’s one player on the team who absolutely can’t stand losing (of course I’m not implying others don’t care, but if there was a player who probably hates it the most …) it’s John Wall. Rondo is 4-1 in matchups against Wall, and the Rondo-less Celtics beat the Wizards earlier this year in an overtime thriller, 113-111. The Celtics were 15-29 at that point.
After the game, Bradley Beal and Wall provided quotes displaying their disgust with themselves and the team. Beal more so stated that the team needed to improve on a lot of things. Wall took most of the blame on himself.
“It starts with me. I took too many shots tonight and we didn’t move the ball like we’re supposed to in the first half. … That’s not the way to lead your team.” — Wall
Throw in a bad loss on Monday to the Bobcats when the Wiz Kids were holding on to a late double-digit lead, and you’ve got a chance of seeing John Wall go to work. It’s not that he doesn’t always go to work, but we can always tell when Johnny Boy has a chip on his shoulders. Rondo has shown the ability to be a great defender in the past. I haven’t watched too much of him this season so I’m not quite sure how the injury has hurt him in that regard. What the injury hasn’t changed is the the strength of Rondo’s frame and the size of his hands. He can work the ball on a string and his reach and length can disrupt passing lanes. John Wall is also very disruptive in passing lanes, especially as of late, which will help him in defending Rondo. Most of Rondo’s game comes from spreading the ball and getting into the paint and creating havoc. Wall has shown an ability to deny opposing points guards of that privilege and also making it hard for them to make acceptable entry passes
Things to take note of:
– The Celtics have dropped five in a row, 10 of their last 11, and 17 of their last 21.
– Boston has lost 10 in the row on the road.
– More than 24% of the Wizards’ offense comes from 3-pointers.
– Washington has converted on 38.7% of its 3’s this season – #1 in the East, #2 in the NBA.
Do not screw with the basketball gods!
There’s little doubt around the league and fans that the Celtics are tanking their way to the finish of this season and looking to properly position themselves in the upcoming draft lottery. They’re a flat out mess. Avery Bradley is hurt. Jeff Green has been limited by a stiff neck. Rondo was out the majority of the season.
With only 21 wins on the season there isn’t much for Coach Brad Stevens to do but toy around with his rotations and experiment with what he’s got. I mean, is there a better way to pass the time through these final eight or nine games? Probably not and that’s why it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Stevens shake things up a bit.
The Celtics are loaded with youth. Kelly Olynyk, Phil Pressey, Avery Bradley, Chris Johnson, Jerryd Bayless and Jared Sullinger are all 25 years of age or younger. They all possess the tools and mechanics to help a coach experiment their dynamic on the court and that could be a problem if the Wizards aren’t fully in tune defensively, especially with Rondo at the helm.
I watched the Celtics play just a few nights ago from courtside while visiting Boston and truthfully, this team can hang. They have the talent to go on runs and make big shots and play several guys with size who can stretch the floor.
We all know that any given night can bring on an outbreak performance from guys like Jeff Green, Rajon Rondo, shit, even Brandon Bass. But there are three Celtics players in particular that could trigger the wrath of the fearsome basketball gods #WittmanFace hammered about in the video above back on January 22.
Kelly Olynyk, who despite his 7-foot/240 pound ‘true center-ish’ frame, has been noticed to hang around the perimeter a lot and often tests his midrange. So much in fact that starting him at small forward has been a consideration. He hasn’t produced much this season, but again, a player and a team playing spoiler with nothing to lose means they have everything to gain.
Jared Sullinger, a BEAST. Sully’s game hasn’t knocked anyone out of their shoes yet but his upside is crucial. The man can shoot from long range and has the strength of a bull in the post. Also, his perceived size on TV is truly deceptive of how big and strong he really is. I’m looking forward to seeing him match up against Booker and Gortat down low.
Phil Pressey. UGH. We know too well what this man can do and although his success against the Wizards hasn’t carried over to the rest of his games, his agility on the floor especially in transition can be beneficial to his teammates and destructive to opposing defenses.