Watch It! - Celtics at Wizards
Here are five things to watch out for when the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards meet at 7 p.m. tonight at the Verizon Center.
Battle of the Coaches
In-game adjustments are critical to the result of regular-season NBA games. Out-of-game adjustments will play a role in these teams’ matchup tonight.
In a rare home-and-home series, Brad Stevens has less than 24 hours to dive deep into the film and find out how the Wizards had schemed against his Celtics. The same is true for Randy Wittman and his Washington staff. Both coaches will surely make tweaks to their schemes tonight in an attempt to overcome the schemes that they saw during Sunday’s matchup.
This is a rare opportunity for Celtics fans to see how Stevens would adjust during a playoff series. Overnight adjustments will be key to the result of this game. This is a battle of the coaches as much as it’s a battle of the players.
Expect More from Beal
Bradley Beal has emerged as a heck of a player for the Washington Wizards. He didn’t look the part on Sunday.
Beal scored only 10 points against Boston during yesterday’s matchup, which matches his second-lowest point total since returning to the lineup on Nov. 19. The sharpshooter made only four of his 18 attempts during the contest, good for a shooting percentage of 22.2 percent.
Simply put, the Celtics cannot expect a similar performance out of the third-year shooting guard. This guy is one of the elite shooters in the game. The law of averages says that he’ll bounce back with a much more efficient shooting performance tonight.
C’s Need Balanced Bench Play
The Celtics received a huge boost Sunday afternoon from Marcus Thornton, who came off the bench to score 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Every one of those points was critical, but the C’s need more than just Thornton to perform well off the bench tonight.
The other four Celtics reserves who appeared in Sunday’s contest combined to score just 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Boston’s bench also committed seven of the team’s 16 turnovers.
It is important that the Celtics receive a solid all-around performance from their bench tonight, most notably from Evan Turner and Brandon Bass. One has to expect that a good team like the Wizards is going to play at a much higher level during this game than it did on Sunday. Underdogs don’t typically beat the better team without strong bench play.
Boston’s Interior D
Washington is a well-rounded team that can score from the inside and the outside. It may have relied too much on its perimeter shooting Sunday afternoon.
The Wizards attempted 27 3-pointers during Sunday’s loss. Compare that to only 34 shot attempts inside the paint and you have an issue for Washington.
Boston’s interior defense was strong enough to force the Wizards into jumpers all afternoon. Washington scored only 28 points in the paint against the C’s defense, which is 14 fewer than its season average. Duplicating such a performance would be a huge plus for Boston tonight.
Which Big Man Steps Up?
Sunday’s matchup between these two teams was determined, in large part, by perimeter players. Yes, Jared Sullinger logged a double-double, and yes, Kris Humphries grabbed 14 boards for Washington, but no performance from a big man seemed to make a major impact on the game.
Don’t expect that to be the case tonight. Both teams are likely to look to their big men for more production during this contest.
Viewers should particularly keep their eye on Sullinger and Marcin Gortat. Sullinger attempted only eight shots on Sunday, a season low. Gortat, meanwhile, shot just 3-of-12, which is uncharacteristic for a guy who has made 54.5 percent of his shot attempts in his career.
A big man is going to step up during this game and serve as a major factor in which team takes home a win.