at Washington Wizards (24-54) at Boston Celtics (49-29)
Friday, April 9
Game #79, Home Game #40
TV: CSN-NE, Comcast Sportsnet, NBA-LP 756
Radio: WEEI, WJFK
TD Garden ProbableStarters
Rajon Rondo/Ray Allen/Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett/Kendrick PerkinsReserves
None Probable Starters
Shaun Livingston/Nick Young/Mike Miller/Andre Blatche/Fabricio ObertoReserves
Cedric Jackson Injuries
Josh Howard (ACL) out
Randy Foye (wrist) out
Gilbert Arenas (Suspension) out
Javaris Crittenton (Suspension) out
Quinton Ross (back) questionable Team Connections
Randy Foye was originally drafted by the Celtics in the 2006 NBA Draft
Mike Miller played for Doc Rivers from 2000-03 in Orlando
Nick Young and Brian Scalabrine are former USC Trojans
Randy Foye, Mike Miller and Shelden Williams were teammates in Minnesota during the 2008-09 seasonÖ
Josh Howard and Marquis Daniels were teammates in Dallas from 2003-06..
Wizards Assistant Coach Sam Cassell played for the Celtics from 2007-09 and was a member of the 2008 Championship team..
Kevin Garnett played for Wizards coaches Flip Saunders
and Randy Wittman in Minnesota
Rasheed Wallace also played for Saunders in DetroitKey Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Shaun Livingston
As in most games, the point guard matchup is key. Livingston has a big height advantage at 6'7" but Rondo has a big quickness advantage.
Kevin Garnett vs Andray Blatche
Blatche has been having his best season as a pro and with his quickness and athleticism, may give KG some problems.
Paul Pierce vs Mike Miller
Pierce needs to be aggressive and go to the basket early and often to exploit Miller's shortcomings on defense. Pierce will also have to defend Miller especially on the perimeter as he can get hot and put up a lot of points quickly. Game Notes
The Celtics are currently 3-0 against the Wizards during the 2009-10 season; The Celtics swept the season series 3-0 against Washington in 2008-09
Ray Allen is leading the Cís with an average of 20.0 points per game against Washington this season
Andray Blatche has averaged 16.3 points per game against the Cís this season
It marked the first time since the 1981-82 season that the Cís had swept the season series against the Wizards
The Celtics are leading the all-time series 170-101 with the Celtics 87-37 at home
With only 3 games left after this one, time is running out for the Celtics to build any momentum going into the playoffs. The Celtics moved back into a tie with the Hawks for the 3rd seed in the East with their win over the Raptors. Those same Raptors, who have been depleted by injury, are playing in Atlanta on Friday and so the Celtics need this game to stay in the 3rd spot.
This is the 4th and final meeting between these two teams. The Wizards bear little resemblance to the team that begin the season. Butler and Haywood are gone to Dallas for Howard, who is now on the injured list. Jamison is gone to Cleveland for nothing. And Arenas is in a halfway house somewhere.
The Celtics are healthy for the most part, although KG is still a step slow at times and Perk obviously is still suffering from the effects of the tendonitis that sidelined him for a couple of games. More than the physical problems for the Celtics, though, have been the mental lapses. The Celtics must dominate a team like the Wizards, a close win just won't do at this point of the season. Keys to the Game Defense
- Defense must be a priority for this team. They won't go far in the playoffs without playing lock down defense. They are running out of time to tune up that defense before the playoffs start. Allowing over 100 points as they have been doing in recent games just won't get it done. Rebound
- The Celtics are one of the worst rebounding teams in the league and because of that they give up way too many second chance points and fast breaks. They need to make a concerted effort to crash the boards. Play 48 Minutes
- The Celtics need to come out strong and not let up until the end. Celtics fans would love to see Gino again in this game and with an important game against the Bucks coming up on Saturday, it would be great to let the starters rest in the fourth quarter. X-Factor
The Celtics have played down to opponents all season. They seem to lose their focus and let poor teams out hustle and out play them. With the playoffs on the horizon, the Celtics have got to get their focus right and give a consistent effort every game.