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Wizards and Celtics meet for first time this season
After splitting their four-game road trip, the Wizards are back home to host the Celtics on Wednesday night. This will be the first of three meetings between two teams that have played some memorable regular season and postseason matchups in the past few seasons. The Wizards won the season series last year for the first time since the 2014-15 season.
Capital One Arena | 7:00 P.M. | NBC Sports Washington | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – John Wall, G – Bradley Beal, G/F – Tomas Satoransky, F – Otto Porter Jr., C – Thomas Bryant
Celtics: G – Kyrie Irving, G – Marcus Smart, F – Jayson Tatum, F – Marcus Morris, C – Aron Baynes
Wizards: Dwight Howard (aggravated gluteal soreness – out), Otto Porter Jr. (right knee contusion – out)
Celtics: Gordon Hayward (illness – out), Al Horford (left knee soreness – out), Guerschon Yabusele (right ankle sprain – out)
The Wizards played Monday’s game in Indianapolis without John Wall, while Otto Porter Jr. only played seven minutes in the game. Wall will play, head coach Scott Brooks revealed pregame, while Porter is out.
The Celtics have won six games in a row and are statistically the second best team in the NBA (7.2 Net Rating); however, they will be without All-Stars Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, both of whom missed Monday’s game against the Pelicans. Kyrie Irving, who was out Monday, is not listed on the injury report. Still, the Celtics played much of last season without several of their key players and are one of the deepest teams in the NBA.
Defend home court
Winners of four in a row at home, the Wizards have been playing much better at Capital One Arena as of late. With wins over the Clippers, Pelicans, Rockets, and Nets, the home court success has not been a fluke by any means. Washington has outscored opponents by 8.3 points per 100 possessions in those four games, playing much better offense and defense at home. During their last four home games, John Wall is averaging 29.5 points and nine assists per game, including 40.7% from 3-point. Bradley Beal, who won Eastern Conference Player of the Week this past week, is averaging 24.8 points per game on 52.2% shooting from the field at home during that stretch. After playing six of their last seven games on the road, playing back at home on Wednesday will feel great. The Wizards have two tough home matchups coming up against the Celtics and then the Lakers on Sunday.
Every possession counts
The Celtics and Wizards rank third and fourth respectively in turnover percentage, meaning every possession will matter in this matchup. If one team starts getting careless with the ball, it could certainly decide the game. Also, not turning the ball over can only take you so far; taking good shots is another element of having sound offensive possessions. The Celtics rank second in the NBA in defense at 102.1 points per 100 possessions, and scoring on them in the half court is not easy. Opponents are only scoring 13.7 points off turnovers per game against the Celtics, best in the NBA. Still, the Wizards rank sixth in pace, while the Celtics are 22nd, which will make for an interesting contrast in styles. If Washington can get stops, force turnovers, and get out on the fast break, the Wizards have to like their chances at home against a shorthanded Boston team.