Apr 7, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics shooting guard Jordan Crawford (27) drives the ball past Washington Wizards center Nene (42) and point guard John Wall (2) during the second half at the TD Garden. The Celtics won 107-96. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
After a truly disappointing loss in Detroit, the Boston Celtics try to win three out of their last four games against the Washington Wizards. The Wizards, who have a bad, recent history in early games, are coming into this game trying to get back to .500 on the year.
This will be a revenge game for Jordan Crawford. Crawford was traded by this team last season because of his attitude when he waysn’t starting. Now he’s with the C’s and really flourishing in their starting point guard role with Rajon Rondo still absent. Expect big things from him today.
The Celtics are going to have to stay focused on their transition defense and stay true to their defensive principles when defending the three. The Wizards are one of the better transition teams in the league and won’t hesitate to pop threes with shooters like Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster. Their bench play has also increased in production in the last few games, so this will be no easy task for the C’s. Here’s what they have to do to win.
Close out on Threes
The Wizards have three of the better three point shooters in the league this year with Trevor Ariza, Bradley Beal and Martell Webster. In wins, they shoot nearly 50% from deep–47% to be exact. But in losses that percentage drops to just 33%. The Celtics have to make sure that the Wizards get no opportunity for any extra points–especially since they aren’t the best free throw shooting team.
Keep John Wall outside
John Wall has developed into the best point guard in the Eastern Conference, but that doesn’t mean that he’s flawless. When his jump shot isn’t falling, he tends to keep going with it and getting colder and colder from the floor. He shoots below average from the floor in that area, so the Celtics would want to keep him out of the paint tonight and keep him on the outside.
That might mean keeping Jordan Crawford from off of him. He’s far from the best defensive player on the Celtics’ roster. They’re going to need to provide all the help in the world for whoever is guarding Wall, because if you try to guard him one on one he’ll have a big game.
Keep the Turnovers down
This will likely be a thing for every single preview that I write. KEEP THE TURNOVERS DOWN! Looking at you, Steez. In losses, the Celtics have 17.3 turnovers per game. That’s really an unacceptable figure and it’s almost impossible to win while turning the ball over at that rate. The Wizards are going to pressure the ball, so the Celtics have got to be careful.
They’re in the top five in the league when it comes to opponent turnover percentage. The Wizards play an aggressive brand of defense that is unforgiving to those who pass the ball around lazily. They’ll need to be solid when passing and protecting the ball.