After a loss to the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers where the Celtics blew a lead, they’ll look to rebound against the Washington Wizards today. The Wizards are mathematically eliminated from NBA playoff contention, but if you’ve watched them since John Wall’s return in January you would’ve thought otherwise.
When John Wall has played this season, the Wizards have been good enough to be a playoff team. Also, Wall is on a tear in the last month. He’s averaged 23 points per game, 7.8 assists per game, 5 rebounds per game, and only 2.9 turnovers per game all on 48% shooting from the field. The key to a Celtic’s victory tonight is stopping John Wall.
Wall scored 37 points against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night. A majority of those 37 points came from transition opportunity. In fact, 19.4% of the Wizards offense came in transition last night. John Wall had 11 field goals in transition per Synergy Sports and he made eight of those. The Celtics have to do a great job of picking the ball up in transition and making sure that the Wizards don’t get behind them. Though the Wizards offense is pretty awful, anyone can make themselves look good in transition.
The Celtics will likely use some combination of trapping Wall and try to confuse him by playing over and under the screen in different instances. They’ll need to force him to the left side of the floor if they want to limit his effectiveness. With Bradley Beal out, the Wizards don’t have many scoring options outside of Nene and John Wall.
There’s no word on whether or not Kevin Garnett or Paul Pierce will play tonight. They both practiced yesterday and that’s a very good sign for the Celtics. With how bad the Wizards are on the road, they may not need either one to return tonight to play against them but the more help the better.