Preview: Beal, Wizards close four-game road trip Friday in Boston
Coming off a shootout loss to the Sixers that saw Bradley Beal tie the franchise record for single-game scoring, the Wizards will face the Celtics on Friday at 7:30 P.M. in Boston. The game is the first outing of a back-to-back with Washington set to take on the Heat the following night in D.C.
TD Garden | 7:30 P.M. | NBCSW | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – Russell Westbrook, G – Bradley Beal, F – Deni Avdija, F – Rui Hachimura, C – Thomas Bryant
Celtics: G – Marcus Smart, G – Jaylen Brown, F – Jayson Tatum, F – Tristan Thompson, C – Daniel Theis
Celtics: Carsen Edwards (health and safety protocols – available), Romeo Langford (right wrist surgery – out), Jeff Teague (left ankle sprain – available), Tristan Thompson (health and safety protocols – out), Kemba Walker (left knee injury recovery – out), Robert Williams III (health and safety protocols – out), Grant Williams (health and safety protocols – out)
Westbrook set to play despite Wednesday’s finger dislocation
After tallying 20 points, eight assists and 12 rebounds on Wednesday night, Russell Westbrook dislocated his finger late in the fourth quarter against the Sixers, exited the game and did not return. Postgame, he described the injury as painful, but was unsure if it would cause him to miss time. Following practice on Thursday, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks confirmed the dislocation, said Westbrook was “definitely sore,” and that the team would see how he felt on Friday before making a final determination on his availability. During pregame media availability, Brooks announced that Westbrook was good to Friday against the Celtics.
“Russell is good, he’s good,” Brooks said pregame. “He felt better. It’s going to be sore, but he’s as tough as any player I’ve been around. He’s ready to go.”
Beal looks to follow up historic scoring night
Beal is coming off one of the most – if not the most – impressive offensive performance in franchise history. He scored 60 points against Philadelphia on Wednesday, tying Gilbert Arenas’s record set in 2006 and joining Stephen Curry in this season’s 60-point club. While Arenas needed overtime to reach the 60-point mark, Beal nearly hit the mark before the fourth quarter started. He scored 57 points in the first three quarters, including 25 in the third quarter alone. The 25-point quarter was the highest scoring quarter by a player this season. Beal’s performance drew praise from across the basketball community, including Boston’s Jayson Tatum, a friend of Beal’s and fellow St. Louis native, who called the Wizards guard his “favorite player in the league” in a tweet following the game.
Beal should have a good opportunity to follow up on the performance against a Boston defense that ranks 21st in the league in defensive rating. In his one outing against the Celtics last season, Beal totaled 44 points, five rebounds and six assists in 39 minutes.
Tatum and Brown lead streaking Celtics
While the Wizards were locked in a thriller with the Sixers, their next two opponents were facing off against one another in Miami. The Celtics topped the Heat by two on Wednesday night after leading by as many as 17 in the second quarter. Boston sits at fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 6-3 record and a rides a three-game win streak into their matchup with Washington. Boston has leaned on its ninth-ranked offense (by offensive rating) through the first two weeks of the season. Wings Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, averaging 26.3 and 26.2 points per game, respectively, lead the team and are one of just two pairs of teammates in the league averaging over 25.0 points per game this season. Against Miami, Brown came in under his season average, scoring 21 points, but totaled season highs in both rebounds (12) and assists (5). Tatum scored a game-high 27 points, 15 of which came in the second half.