1/25 Game Preview: Celtics at Wizards
The Boston Celtics have had the Washington Wizards' number this season, and the last meeting featured an incident that could be revisited when these teams complete the season series.
Celtics forward Jae Crowder claimed that Wizards coach Randy Wittman cursed at him the last time these teams met heading into Monday night's matchup that is still in some doubt due to the massive snowstorm that blanketed the nation's capital.
Boston (24-21) can complete a four-game sweep of Washington after winning 119-117 on the road Jan. 16, in a game overshadowed by an incident between Crowder and Wittman.
The Celtics held a four-point lead with 22 seconds left and the Wizards' John Wall at the line for three free throws. Wall missed his first attempt before referee Tony Brothers whistled Crowder for a technical foul.
Crowder immediately pointed toward Wittman while arguing with Brothers, and later told reporters Wittman was on the other end of those remarks.
"I feel like he was getting away with a lot of curse words and inappropriate words to me, and I retaliated and I got hit," Crowder said. "Tony said he didn't hear anything from Wittman. I'm not going to outburst on a coach and say something like that for no reason."
Wittman had already spoken to the media that night and said in subsequent days that he yelled at Crowder, but denied using curse words. Crowder said that he was arguing with Washington's Nene before he got involved with Wittman.
"He (Wittman) was saying something about me being soft and bleep, bleep, bleep hitting me on the John Wall foul," Crowder said. "It's new to me. I understand we play them next week. I honestly don't know where it was coming from."
Crowder had 22 points on a night that the star for Boston was Isaiah Thomas, who scored 32 after totaling 37 in the first two meetings as the Celtics won by an average of 26.5 points.
The last matchup was much closer thanks to Wall, who had a season-high 36 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds. Wall has a team-high six technical fouls.
"I think there was a lot of woofing going on throughout the whole game," Wall said. "I'm just trying to compete and I didn't want to get another technical. I got enough this year."
Washington (20-21) may be disadvantaged since it hasn't played since a 106-87 win over Miami on Wednesday. The club practiced Friday before its game the next day against Utah was postponed due to the storm.
Boston may be sharper after crushing Philadelphia 112-92 on Sunday in a game pushed back one day because of the weather. Thomas and Crowder each scored 20 points as the Celtics led by as many as 29.
"I thought our guys were pretty locked in today," coach Brad Stevens said. "We talked about playing with force all day, and I thought we did a pretty good job of that."
The Celtics arrived at Philadelphia on Sunday morning after the city's airport was closed the previous day.
"Obviously, that wasn't ideal but I thought our guys were businesslike in our approach," Stevens said.
The Wizards' Otto Porter could return from a four-game absence due to a hip injury while fellow forward Drew Gooden might play for the first time in four games after being out with a calf issue.