home 2013-14, Blogs, Game Coverage Gameday: Wizards vs. Celtics – .512

Gameday: Wizards vs. Celtics – .512

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Celtics (14-29) at Wizards (20-20)

January 22, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 106.7FM The Fan

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Projected starting lineups:

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C- Marcin Gortat
PF- Nene
SF- Trevor Ariza
SG- Bradley Beal
PG- John Wall

celts

C- Kris Humphries
PF- Jared Sullinger
SF- Jeff Green
SG- Avery Bradley (questionable)
PG- Rajon Rondo (game-time Decision)

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Key matchup

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Trevor Ariza v. Jeff Green

With Avery Bradley likely out, Bradley Beal should have a much easier time against his opposition. That opposition could be Gerald Wallace, who is no slouch, but isn’t the kind of mobile defender that Bradley is. Rajon Rondo could also miss this contest, considering it would be the first back-to-back games he’d be playing since he started recovering from injury.

That leaves us with this matchup. Jeff Green isn’t the kind of star that the Celtics were expecting, but he has shown flashes of being able to take over a game. He’s athletic, versatile, and can put up points.

Trevor Ariza mirrors a lot of these traits, except putting up points has been a struggle for him as of late. He was one of the main scapegoats in the loss to Detroit, as he and Bradley Beal combined for some horrific shooting percentages. He improved his numbers in Monday’s 107-99 win against the 76ers, albeit six of his 13 points were from dunks. At this point however, Ariza will take what he can get. Ariza was 1-for-7 from 3-point range and 4-for-12 from the field – alarming numbers for someone who’s been struggling.

The good thing about Trevor’s mentality is that he knows he has to continue to shoot to break out of this slump. The bad thing about this situation is that Ariza has shown historically that his slumps can turn into…well…entire seasons of bad shooting. He’s sub-40% from the field and sub-30% from downtown. Not as if we haven’t seen those numbers before.

Whether he provides Wizards with some momentum-shifting three’s or fast-break buckets, or stout defense on Jeff Green, the Wizards need it badly on a team that struggles to guarantee itself any bench production. Jeff Green is on the trade block and could be trying to make the 18.4 million remaining on his contract seem attractive by putting up some numbers. To Ariza’s credit, when he’s not shooting well he has found his way to rebound and pass the ball – evidenced by his two double-doubles this month. Let’s see how this matchup shakes out.

Spotlight

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Bradley Beal

Bradley Beal quickly became the scapegoat as the Wizards faltered at home again last Saturday against the Pistons. Blaming someone for the loss is one thing (as Beal was utterly atrocious in his production and efficiency) but thinking that Beal has regressed as a player or as a shooter is another. Fans quickly began to say that Beal played like a “rookie” and isn’t as good as we thought it was. Look…

Bradley Beal is a scorer. He’s a shooter. He’s going to have his struggles. There will be a few nights every few months where the basket shrinks to the size of a grapefruit. However, there will be way more nights where the opening in the basket looks the size of a swimming pool. Something similar to those nights is when he put up 22 points against the 76ers, while finding ways to get other Wizards involved with eight assists, and pulling down nine rebounds. Bradley Beal is a gamer. Let him play. A game like last Saturday’s is possibly the worst you will ever see him play. His 22-9-8 stat line from Monday is probably not even what he’s fully capable of on a great night.

The X-factors

  • 3-point shooting. It’s their bread and butter. Or maybe their peanut butter and jelly. They’re 5th in the league in 3-point shooting percentage. If you include the wide-open shots they miss from downtown, they could be a lot better.

  • Free throws.Yes. The difference in them making the free throws they should make could be the difference in a blowout or a game that isn’t enough out of reach for the Celtics to make a comeback.

    That comeback is also referred to as the “Wizards doing everything possibly wrong in trying to secure what will likely be an easily surmountable six-point lead and eventually losing it when they have to insert more than one reserve into the game at a time.”

  • What happened last time they played?

    The Wizards survived the Celtics 106-99 in Boston on December 21 despite a second half onslaught by Avery Bradley. Bradley torched the Wizards with 18 of his 26 points in an 8 minute span during that half but a solid 27-point outing by Trevor Ariza ultimately pushed the Wizards to victory. Tonight will be the second of four meetings between the two teams this season.

    Who’s hurt?

    Wizards: Al Harrington and Glen Rice remain out. Trevor Booker is a game time decision.

    Celtics: Avery Bradley is questionable with an ankle injury. Rajon Rondo is likely close to a game time decision. If he does play, he will likely be on restricted minutes. Jerryd Bayless will likely sit this one out with a toe injury. Brandon Bass is questionable with a hip injury.

    Outlook

    Four times this season, the Wizards have been .500 and lost the next game. I’m fairly certain that it changes tonight. The Celtics have lost 15 of their last 17 games. They’ve lost three straight. All of their players are either hurt or in a funk, except for Kris Humphries.

    Translation: The Celtics are very, very bad.

    With four of their main players out, we could see some names we’ve never seen before. Tony Snell’s uncle’s nephew’s cousin might even get some playing time. If Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo were either fully healthy or even playing for that matter then it’d be #SoWizards to drop a fifth game in this data set to fully establish that they are destined for nothing but mediocrity. However, with those two cogs possibly missing or on restricted minutes, it would take a major botch-job by Randy Wittman or another Ariza/Beal combined 3-21 night.

    Well…now that I think about it…let’s just see how this plays out.

    we are Hoop District

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