Watch It! - Wizards at Celtics
Here are five things to watch out for when the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards meet at 7:30 p.m. tonight at TD Garden.
Hey C’s, Be You!
So the Celtics are 1-3 this season. We all know that. Is it time to panic? No. Way.
We’ve seen these Celtics before, at least the majority of them. Most of these guys bonded together to go 24-12 over the final 36 games of last season. That sample size is much greater than this season’s four-game sample size.
We know that they can score with efficiency. We know that they can defend with the best of them. We know that they can beat any team in the league.
All the Celtics need to do is be themselves; be the confident players and team that everyone in this league knows they and it can be.
The Great Wall
Boston should expect a lot of Wall – John Wall – tonight.
Wall has quickly turned himself into one of the most electric players in the NBA. He’s a two-time All-Star who is one of the best defenders in the league. He also ranked second among all players in assists per game last season (10.0) while scoring 17.6 points per game.
Now you may understand why Wall is averaging more touches per game (100.3) than any other player in the league this season. Our Taylor Snow dug that stat up and also found that the closest Celtics player to Wall in that category is Isaiah Thomas, who receives an average of just 77.0 touches per game. Wall is tops in the league in passes received (86.0) and made (74.3) this season.
What does that mean for Boston? It’s simple: the C’s are going to see a lot of Wall during this game.
Beal Making ‘the Leap’?
Bradley Beal is quickly throwing himself into the conversation of best shooting guard in the league. Think that sounds crazy? Look at the stats.
Beal is averaging a career-best 25.3 PPF through four games this season, which ranks tops in the league among shooting guards. He’s shooting the ball at an incredible rate, connecting on 47.5 percent of his field goals and 46.4 percent of his 3s.
This season stands as a contract year for Beal. He’ll head into restricted free agency next summer. The 22-year-old will going to be able to demand a heck of a lot of money if he continues to play at this level, because he’s in the process of making the leap into the NBA’s top echelon of shooting guards.
Brad Stevens two weeks ago thankfully exclaimed that his Celtics got out of the preseason unscathed from an injury standpoint. The first four games of the regular season haven’t been quite as kind.
Three of Boston’s top players are nicked up, and two of those players may not see the court tonight. Avery Bradley played – and played well – Wednesday night in Indiana while grinding through a right hand and wrist sprain. Marcus Smart, meanwhile, missed the contest with a sprained left big toe and is officially listed as questionable for tonight’s game. Amir Johnson, who did not play during the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s loss after twisting his ankle, did not practice Thursday afternoon and Stevens declared him as “50-50” for tonight’s game.
The most important question of the night for the C’s is, which of these players will be available to play? The secondary question is, how well will those available players be able to perform through their injuries?
More Playing Time for Sully
The raw statistics may not show it, but Jared Sullinger has had a fantastic start to the season. He is having a career year so far in the rebounding department (12.1 boards per 36 minutes) and the shooting department (48.5 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from downtown).
Those numbers are a big reason why Stevens has given Sullinger more and more playing time over the past three games. Sullinger went from 14 minutes of playing time last Friday, to 24 minutes Sunday afternoon, to 27 minutes Wednesday night.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if that trend continues tonight and leads to Sullinger playing 30 or more minutes against Washington. Sullinger has been one of Boston’s top players and could play a huge role in the team knocking off the Wizards tonight.