By: Jeremy Hyman
The Wizards head to Boston for their final bout with the Celtics tonight at TD Garden (6:00 pm | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM). The Celtics lead the season series, 2-0.
It has been quite some time since these two teams have seen each other, as the Wizards played a home-and-home with the Celtics back in early November. They played both of those games without John Wall and Nene, who are both now healthy and expected to play tonight. Both games in November came down to the wire, but it was the veteran Celtics who were able to make the plays needed down the stretch to get the wins.
Last night, the, Wizards continued their dominance at home, winning their ninth straight at Verizon Center as they dismantled the Pacers 104-85. John Wall led the team with 37 points on 16/25 shooting to go along with his five assists, four rebounds, two steals, and two blocks. Wall has played like an elite player over the last month, averaging over 22 points and eight assists per game since March 1st. He will have a tough battle tonight when he gets the defensive minded Avery Bradley and the Celtics.
Like the Wizards, the Celtics have been dealing with injuries to their stars as they are learning how to play without their all-star Rajon Rondo, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. They also could be without Kevin Garnett in the post, who has missed the last few weeks with an ankle injury. There is a chance KG returns tonight, as he returned to practice and said his foot feels "better." With or without Garnett, they are a dangerous team, especially when playing at home and near playoff time. This is a team loaded with veterans and they are only one game back of the Hawks in the loss column for the six seed so every game matters for this team fighting for a better seed.
The Celtics are coming off a disappointing home loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night, even without Rondo, Garnett, and Pierce. Jeff Green led the Celtics with 23 points and he has become a major contributor over the last few weeks as his role in the offense has picked up tremendously. He has scored in double figures in the Celtics last 14 games, which included a career-high 43 point performance against the Miami Heat. Since January 27th, he's averaging almost 17 points per game and the Wizards will need to account for Green when the Celtics are on offense tonight.
The action kicks off at 6pm.
John Wall gets another chance to fill up the stat sheet tonight as he gets to take on the Celtics for the first time this season. He's coming off another dazzling performance, where he dropped in 37 points in last night's win over the Pacers. As teams continue to play off Wall, he has been making them pay by consistently knocking down his mid-range jumpshots. Tonight he will get a tough defender in Avery Bradley.
Bradley missed the first part of the 2012-13 season with a collarbone injury, but is averaging 9.3 points in 45 games since returning. He's not a great shooter, but is capable of hitting an outside shot. He's most dangerous in transition and can use his speed to his advantage as he's one of the quicker guards in the league. He will likely be the guy asked to try and slow down John Wall tonight, which should be a fun matchup to watch.
In the below clip, John Wall exploded for 26 points in a half.
In this clip, Wall gets the steal and the slam.