Watch It! – Celtics at Wizards
Here are five things to watch out for when the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards meet at 7 p.m. tonight at Verizon Center.
Celtics Keeping it 100
It’s been quite some time since the Boston Celtics have been on an offensive tear like the one they are currently experiencing.
The C’s have scored at least 100 points during each of their last eight games, which is the first time in 10 seasons that they have done so during the regular season.
Boston should have no problem reaching the 100-point mark again tonight against a Wizards team that is surrendering the second most points per game in the East (103.8 PPG). If it does, it will be the first time since the 1996-97 campaign that it reached that plateau in nine consecutive regular season games.
That 1996-97 version of the Celtics scored at least 100 points in 10 straight games; amazingly, they lost nine of those. The C’s of now, on the other hand, are not putting their high-scoring efforts to waste, as they have won five of their last seven.
Washington’s Offense Thriving
The Wizards are in the midst of a magical offensive stretch as well, having scored at least 100 points during six of their last seven contests. That span included a 117-point effort against the Celtics on Jan. 16, though Boston’s offense ousted them in that game with 119 points of its own.
The Wizards bring an incredibly well-balanced scoring attack to the table. They have six players averaging in double figures this season, led by John Wall (19.9 PPG) and Bradley Beal (19.2 PPG).
Beal was absent from Washington’s recent 117-point effort against the C’s. He has missed 17 of Washington’s last 21 games with a lower leg injury, but he should be good to go tonight.
Playing Off the Wall
During Beal’s month-long absence, Wall has kept Washington’s ship steady.
The point guard was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month in December, when he posted averages of 22.6 points, 11.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game.
Wall hasn’t been too shabby in January, either. He nearly posted a quadruple-double when he faced the C’s on Jan. 16. He tallied 36 points that night, along with 13 assists, seven rebounds and seven steals, for arguably the best all-around performance of his six-year career.
Well-Rested Wizards vs. a Busy Boston Team
Wall and the Wizards have one factor in their favor tonight: they have extremely fresh legs.
Washington hasn’t hit the hardwood since Wednesday, when it ousted the Miami Heat, 106-87, on its home court. The Wizards were scheduled to host Utah on Saturday, but Winter Storm Jonas caused that game to be postponed to a later date.
The blizzard impacted Boston’s schedule as well, but to a different effect. The C’s were scheduled to play Saturday in Philadelphia, but that game was pushed to Sunday due to the weather. Now, instead of having a day of rest heading into tonight’s game, Boston will be on the tail end of a back-to-back.
This will mark Boston’s second road-road back-to-back of the season; it is 2-0 during second games in that scenario.
C’s Have a Spell on the Wizards
Rested or not, Washington has not had any success against the Celtics this season. Boston has had its number with a 3-0 series advantage and has an average margin of victory of 18.3 points.
Prior to Boston’s two-point win in D.C. on Jan. 16, it had blown out the Wizards twice at home – 118-98 on Nov. 6 and 111-78 on Nov. 27.
Isaiah Thomas, Jared Sullinger and Jae Crowder in particular have had their way against Washington this season, averaging a combined 57.7 PPG.