Game Preview: Wizards at Celtics
John Wall is heating up, and the Washington Wizards are figuring out how to win on the road.
They'll need to reverse recent history Saturday against the Boston Celtics in order to register their first three-game road win streak since the end of the 2011-12 season.
Wall is averaging career highs of 19.6 points, 9.1 assists and 2.1 steals, and he helped the Wizards to consecutive victories in New York this week.
The first overall pick in 2010 had 20 points, eight assists and six rebounds in a 102-101 win over the Knicks on Monday, and Wall scored 21 points and handed out six assists while making a pair of key defensive plays down the stretch in a 113-107 victory against the Nets the following night.
"Coming on this trip to New York and over the bridge to Brooklyn, it's huge," coach Randy Wittman said. "It's huge."
Washington led Brooklyn by as many as 12 before the Nets cut it to one, but Wall made a steal and blocked a shot to help the Wizards pull away. Bradley Beal, who hit the winning shot against the Knicks, made a key 3-pointer and finished with 15 points in Brooklyn as seven Wizards scored in double figures.
"We just stayed calm. We weathered the storm," Wall said. "We didn't get down even when they cut it to one. Came back down and made a big play."
Washington is one of the better 3-point shooting teams in the NBA, making 39.3 percent of its attempts. Wall has improved his accuracy from long range, as he's shooting 32.6 percent after posting a 24.3 mark in his first three seasons.
Wall and his teammates may not have too many open looks from long range against the Celtics, who have allowed opponents to make 32.5 percent of their 3s to rank among the NBA's best.
The Celtics are coming off a tough loss, but they've dominated this series recently. Boston has won seven straight meetings overall, as well as six in a row and nine of 10 at home.
Against visiting Detroit on Wednesday, the Celtics scored a season-high 42 points in the first quarter to jump out to a 19-point lead, but they allowed the Pistons to rally for a 107-106 win.
"It's easy for all of us, myself included, to be really focused on 'We had a 19-point lead and didn't win the game', but we got outplayed for 36 minutes," coach Brad Stevens said.
Boston committed 18 turnovers which led to 30 points for the Pistons, and the Celtics missed a free throw and field-goal attempt in the final seconds that could have changed the outcome.
"All we can do is learn from this game and go into the next practice and prepare for our next game," said guard Avery Bradley, who had 14 points.
Boston center Jared Sullinger had team highs of 19 points and eight rebounds while adding four assists. He's averaging 20.7 points over the past three games.