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TD Garden | 7:30 p.m. | TV: NBCSW | Radio: 980 AM & Wizards App
The Wizards wrap up their two-game road trip on Wednesday night, taking on the Celtics at 7:30 p.m. at TD Garden. Washington is looking to bounce back from its first loss of the season, a 104-90 defeat on Monday night in Brooklyn, while Boston is coming off an overtime win over Charlotte.
Wizards: Thomas Bryant (left knee injury recovery – out), Anthony Gill (right calf strain – out), Rui Hachimura (not with team – out), Raul Neto (left shoulder contusion – questionable), Cassius Winston (left hamstring strain – out)
Celtics: Al Horford (left adductor strain – probable), Romeo Langford (left calf strain – questionable), Payton Pritchard (nasal fracture – available)
Searching for 3-point consistency
Through three games this season, the peaks and valleys of the Washington offense is most noticeably reflected in the team’s 3-point shooting. On opening night against Toronto, Washington shot just 5-27 (.185) from three, but managed to scrap for a win behind a strong defensive performance and equally cold shooting night from the Raptors. Against the Pacers, the Wizards caught fire from three, finishing one triple shy of tying the franchise’s single-game record, hitting 19-38 (.500). Spencer Dinwiddie (6), Kyle Kuzma (5) and Davis Bertans (4) combined to hit 15 of those 19 threes. But against the Nets on Monday night, the shooting production came crashing back down as Washington shot 9-39 (.231) from deep. When asked postgame if he was OK with the Wizards’ volume of 3-point attempts, Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said he was less concerned with the quantity and far more worried about generating quality looks.
“The type of threes that we took?” Unseld responded. “No, but 39 (attempts) in general, I don’t mind, as long as it’s the correct ones. I thought we got away from what we were trying to do a little bit.”
The Wizards will have a good chance to get their 3-point shooting back on track on Wednesday night, facing a Celtics’ defense that is allowing the sixth-highest opponent 3-point shooting percentage in the league and is coming off a game in which they allowed the Hornets to shoot 19-44 (.432) from deep.
Wizards look to tighten up defensive communication
After a suffocating defensive performance against the Raptors in last week’s season opener, the Wizards defense has slipped in their last two outings. While their 104 points allowed against the high-powered Nets’ offense was an improvement over Friday night’s 123 regulation points given up against the Pacers, the common refrain postgame was that a lack of communication led to too many easy points. Brooklyn shot 58.5% in the paint and the Wizards were undone by role players like Patty Mills (21 points) and Bruce Brown (14 points), despite holding Kevin Durant and James Harden to modest performances.
“The communication has to be better,” Bradley Beal said after the loss. “Obviously schematic-wise, there are some things we can change and kind of be on the same page, but we still have to talk and communicate. Regardless of what our coverage is, we still have to go out and do it with force and energy. Even if we were doing it right, we still weren’t doing it aggressive enough.”
Washington’s ability to put those improvements into action will be put to the test on Wednesday night against a Celtics’ offense that is averaging 116.0 points per game and led by a dynamic wing duo.
Tatum, Brown set the tone for Celtics
In Boston’s win over the Charlotte on Monday night, their All-Star star tandem of wings – Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum – combined to score 71 of the team’s 140 points, shooting 26-48 (.541) from the field. Dennis Schroder (26 points) and Robert Williams (16 rebounds, three blocks) played significant roles in the win, but the Celtics’ success starts and finishes with Brown and Tatum. Brown is averaging 28.3 points per game while Tatum is averaging 27.5, putting both in the top 10 across the entire league.
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