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Wizards vs. Celtics Pregame: Cabin Fever Withdrawal

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Boston at Washington

January 25, 2016 at 7:00 PM
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 99.1FM


Last time they met was..

January 16, 2016 – Verizon Center, DC: Celtics 119, Wizards 117


What to watch

The Wizards kicking off the second half of their season in the middle of a tight race for playoff contention. On the bubble looking in, the Wizards are a game and half behind the struggling Heat for the 8th seed and just two games behind their opponent tonight, the 5th seeded Celtics. They are four games short of earning home court advantage in the first round (the 4 seed), a spot currently occupied by the Atlanta Hawks. Contrarily, the Wizards are just a half game ahead of the Knicks, Magic, and Hornets, who are in a 3-way tied at the 10 spot of the East.

Tonight kicks off a critical Q & A session for Wizards fans. For example, with Beal, Nene, and now Otto Porter back in the lineup, how long can the Wizards sustain this improvement of health moving forward? Will .500 ever be attainable again? Can we find a way to not overwork John Wall? Who will talk me out of suicide if Bradley Beal gets injured again? As game #42 approaches, the season is officially winding down, and we’re looking for answers now.


Key Matchup

John Wall vs. Isaiah Thomas

These two put up a classic head-t-head battle nine days ago. Peep the stat lines:

John Wall: 36 points, 13 assists, 7 rebounds, 7 steals, 1 block.

Isaiah Thomas: 32 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 5-7 from 3PT.

While Wall bested Thomas in just about every statistical category, Thomas ended up with the one key difference maker, the same one that could possibly land him in the All-Star Game over Wall: he won the game. Wall takes personal matchups seriously, and even though he personally outlasted Thomas that night, I can imagine his mindset for tonight being revolved around the daunting memory of his last second layup bouncing off the rim in the closing seconds of regulation, a layup he attempted after splitting in between Thomas and Kelly Olynyk, and one that would have taken the game to overtime. Usually John feeds off those types of heartbreaking moments quite well. We’ll see if that’s the case tonight.


X-factor

Post-cabin fever withdrawal.

The Wizards come off as a team that would totally succumb to post-cabin fever. They were iced in by the storm, and their preparation for the Utah Jazz was iced after Saturday night’s game was cancelled. With bodies over-rested and thumbs sore from PS4 controllers, the Wizards would not surprised if they came out looking hungover and lethargic. I’m just sayin.


Fun Factor:

A top 5 moment in franchise history. Marcin Gortat infiltrating the Celtics huddle.

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Prediction

The thumbs are fine. The rest was beneficial. The team is fresh and ready to take on the final 41 games of the season. Oh, and John Wall really was pissed about his botched layup at the buzzer. He gets his vengeance tonight. Wizards win decisively.

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