Wizards Close Out Homestand with Celtics

Posted on January 22, 2014 by Jeremy Hyman

Final Score: Wizards 111 Celtics 114 (OT)

This game had just about everything tonight. A gigantic second half comeback. Overtime. A triple-double by John Wall. 39 points for Jeff Green on his old college court. The only thing it was missing was a Wizards' win. The Celtics pulled out the overtime victory as Gerald Wallace hit a runner with 2.5 seconds left and John Wall just missed a potential game winning three at the buzzer. The Wizards had the chance to win in it regulation but a Nene jumper rimmed out.

During the first half it assuredly looked like none of that would have the chance to happen as the Wizards were getting absolutely blown out. The Celtics jumped all over the Wizards early and went into the half up by 18. A funny thing happened in the third quarter though, as what is usually the Wizards' worst quarter was their best tonight. They outscored the Celtics by 15 in the third and cut the lead to three entering the fourth. The Wizards grabbed their first lead of the evening on a Martell Webster four point play with just over six minutes to play and it was back and forth down the stretch.

John Wall and Jeff Green were the stars in this one as Wall had a triple double with 28 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, and Green had a game high 39 points, back on the court he starred at when playing for Georgetown. The triple-double was the second of Wall's career, and the first since his rookie campaign. For Green, that was the second highest scoring game of his career and the most threes he has ever hit in a game (eight). The Wizards actually only hit seven themselves. It was the three ball in general that kept the Celtics in the game as they hit 15 of them. Phil Pressey had made six threes on the season going into this one, and he hit five in the contest.

It was a heartbreaking loss for Washington, and they fail to go over .500 again, falling to 20-21 at the halfway mark. They'll head out west now for a four game road trip. - Jacob Raim


Pregame:

6:15 pm:


With the Celtics backcourt in shambles, tonight presents a great opportunity for the Wizards to finally get over that .500 mark. Although Randy Wittman told us that the team's approach won't change, the fact that the Celtics are without their starting backcourt (Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley) and combo guard Jerryd Bayless, leaves them very thin and with limited options. They have a 5'11 rookie point guard, Phil Pressey, starting and then two guys on 10-day contracts (Chris Johnson and Vander Blue) as reserves. Gerald Wallace will slide down and play some shooting guard, though Stevens indicated that we could see Jeff Green playing the point forward at times. He said he'll have to go with his gut.

Look for the bigger Wizards' point guards to take advantage of the smaller Pressey and attack the basket often.


Randy Wittman talked about the team keeping the same focus against such a depleted opponent. He told us yesterday that if his team doesn't show up, which has happened this year, they won't beat anyone.

With getting the "above .500 monkey" off their back, the Wizards should have enough motivation just from knowing a win will get the media to stop asking them about it.

The Live Chat gets going at 7pm.

5:45pm:

Just came back from Randy Wittman and Brad Stevens' pregame interviews. Here's the latest:

For the Wizards, Trevor Booker will be a gametime decision with a sprained left ankle. He's on the floor now warming up and looks ok, so my gut will say he'll be available, but that decision won't be made until tip-off.

For the Celtics, they are in a lot of trouble as three of their guards will miss tonight's game with various injuries. Rajon Rondo (knee, rest on back-to-back), Avery Bradley (ankle), and Jerryd Bayless (toe) will all be inactive tonight, putting rookie Phil Pressey into the starting lineup at the point guard. He'll join Gerald Wallace, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, and Kris Humphries in the starting lineup. They signed Chris Johnson to a 10-day contract a few days ago and just today signed Vander Blue to a 10-day, who both should see minutes with such a depleted backcourt.

Brad Stevens talked about how he'll have to adjust to this new lineup and talked glowingly about the Wizards and their "smoothness" on offense. Video coming soon.

5:00pm

Reports have surfaced that Rajon Rondo will miss tonight's #WizCeltics game and Avery Bradley's status is in question. This could pose big question marks in the Celtics' backcourt as they play the second night of a back-to-back. It could mean more playing time for rookie guard Phil Pressey. We'll have more after hearing from Brad Stevens.



Shootaround:

Here we are again. Back at Verizon Center for the fifth and final game of this home-stand. After losing the first four games of 2014 here, the Wizards have responded by going 3-1 on this current home-stand.

It feels like we have to go over this every few games now, but for the fifth time this season (including opening night), the Wizards have a chance to climb over the .500 mark with a win tonight. At 20-20, tonight is game #41 and the halfway mark of the 2013-14 season. What better way to finish the first half then to be over .500 for the first time since October 2009.

The opponent tonight; the Boston Celtics. 2014 has been unkind to the Celtics as they have just one win this month. They have lost 12 of 13 overall and are coming off a tough road loss in Miami last night. Despite their record, they won't be a pushover tonight as they have lost a lot of close games of late and always play hard under first-year coach Brad Stevens.

The last time these two teams met last month, it was former Wizard Jordan Crawford running the point, but he's since been traded to Golden State. The Celtics jumped out to an early lead and led for nearly the entire game, until a late Wizards run saw them complete a 106-99 comeback win at the TD Garden.

The Celtics did get some good news last week when their All-Star point guard, Rajon Rondo, returned to action. He was coming off ACL surgery and remains on a minutes restriction. Because the Celtics played last night, there is a chance Rondo will be held out of tonight's game as he said he would see how his body feels to determine if he could play in back-to-backs. If he does play, the Wizards can expect him to go about 20-25 minutes. He played 25 minutes last night in Miami and showed signs of rust, going 0-8 from the floor and was held to just one point.

The Wizards are preparing as if Rondo will go and they know what he means to the Celtics.

Wall on Facing the Celtics:

Wittman on Facing the Celtics:

Beal on Facing the Celtics:

Marcin Gortat talked about how important it is to protect home court and how he wants to give the fans a reason to come out and support the team:

On the injury front, Trevor Booker will be a gametime decision as he is trying to come back from a sprained left ankle which he suffered Saturday night against Detroit. He missed Monday's game against Philadelphia and was limited in practice yesterday. If he can't go, look for Jan Vesely and Kevin Seraphin to log minutes off the bench in his place. Seraphin scored 16 points to lead all bench scorers in Monday's game after scoring 18 points in his previous game playing meaningful minutes.

With a tough west coast road trip on the horizon followed by three home games against the top three teams in the Western Conference, the Wizards hope to send the home fans happy with a win tonight.

The action gets going at 7pm from Verizon Center.

Posted in: Sports
next up:

#WizSixers Gameday Blog

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Updates, analysis, news, notes, and more from Monday's #WizSixers matinee at Verizon Center.

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