Boston Celtics vs. Washington Wizards – Capital One Arena – 7:30 pm (ET)
The Boston Celtics are now 2-0 to start their 2023-24 season. After a win over the Miami Heat on Friday night, and after such a strong team display throughout, will Joe Mazzulla make any changes for their clash with the Washington Wizards? Lineups, predictions, injury reports, and more.
Should the Boston Celtics make any changes after a strong start to the season?
With the Celtics’ starting five scoring a combined 111 points, it’s becoming increasingly evident just how strong this lineup truly is, and with the Washington Wizards coming off a confidence-building win against the Memphis Grizzlies, I don’t think it’s worth Mazzulla making any changes.
After his criticism-filled performance on Boston’s opening night against the New York Knicks, Jaylen Brown needed a redemption game – and redemption is precisely what he delivered. The social media storm of Brown slander that followed seemed a bit excessive, given that a subpar opening game is far from uncommon in the NBA.
We are well aware of Brown’s capabilities, and his stat line from the victory over the Miami Heat is precisely what we’ve come to expect from him. Anything less than that shouldn’t ignite a widespread panic among Celtics fans.
Brown vs. Heat: 27 points, six rebounds, one assist, two steals, 11-22 from the field (50%), and 3-7 from beyond the arc (42.9)
Given the multitude of scoring options that the Celtics’ possess, there will inevitably be nights when the star players’ point totals don’t quite meet their usual standards. However, as long as the team continues to secure victories as they have been, such fluctuations in individual performances should not raise the panic alarm.
After his exceptional offensive and defensive performance against the Heat, it’s clear that Derrick White’s talents are not just evident to Celtics fans anymore. Where do I begin? Well, I’ll start by stating that he is currently the best shot-blocking guard in the league, and he made that evident with the three blocks he managed during this game. When you include the six rebounds and one steal in this conversation, it’s clear that White is an elite-level guard.
His offense was also on full display as he managed 28 points, dished out three assists, and half of his rebounds were offensive ones. His 28 points came from incredible efficiency as he shot the ball at 9-15 from the field (60%), and 5-7 from beyond the arc (71.4%). With the combination of offensive and defensive output, White has to be a starter against the Wizards. Is it too soon to consider that Most Improved Player is a possibility? And is he Brad Steven’s best move as a GM so far?
White and Brown weren’t the only two to have an impressive showing on Friday night as the box score flexed the muscle of the Celtics locker room. I’d still claim that the Celtics have the best starting five in the league, and this performance only backs that argument further.
Jrue Holiday vs. Heat: 17 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, one block, and show 7-13 (53.8%) from the field.
Jayson Tatum vs. Heat: 22 points, eight rebounds, five assists, one steal, and shot 9-22 (40.9%) from the field.
Kristaps Porzingis vs. Heat: 17 points, nine rebounds, one assist, three steals, one block, and shot 6-12 (50%) from the field.
With everyone from the starting five delivering strong performances, confidence among both the fans and the organization is undoubtedly through the roof. The best course of action for the team at the moment appears to be maintaining the same starting lineup against the Wizards, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if Mazzulla did make a couple of changes. Even with that consideration, I’m predicting the same starting five and another strong team victory on Monday night.
Boston Celtics Predicted Lineup
PG: Derrick White
SG: Jrue Holiday
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Kristaps Porzingis
The chemistry within the Celtics starting five is beginning to become more evident as each game passes, and with none of the starters having a bad game. With the astonishing display against the heat, it would be tough to make any changes and therefore I think Mazzulla will run it back against the Wizards.
The Washington Wizards are 1-1 to start the season, but should we expect changes to be made for Monday night?
After losing stars like Bradley Beal and Porzingis during the offseason, their rebuild has been set into motion. How they would perform this season was a mystery and following their opening-day loss to the Indiana Pacers, it started to look like how most expected – a tanking season. However, after a strong showing against the Memphis Grizzlies, it looks like there might be some fight on this Wizards side.
Following the acquisition from the Golden State Warriors, Jordan Poole was poised to take on the main responsibilities on the court for the Wizards, and his performance against the Grizzles makes it evident as to why that is.
Poole vs. Grizzlies: 27 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block.
With an impressive scoring output on full display, it would be incomprehensible for Poole to not be one of the first names in the starting fives throughout the season, when available that is, and I think we will see him in their clash with the Celtics. We are beginning to see how Poole plays when he isn’t surrounded by the depth of talent that the Warriors boast, but can he maintain this?
Kyle Kuzma has had an incredible start to his 2023-24 season with two notable back-to-back performances to start the year off. In his offensive display against the Pacers, he scored 25 points and managed two rebounds and two blocks. With the game ending in a loss for Kuzma and the Wizards, he had to step things up a bit.
Kuzma vs. Grizzlies: 21 points, 13 rebounds, two assists, and one steal.
Kuzma may have scored four fewer points against the Grizzlies, but his 13 rebounds, two assists, and one steal make it clear that his other contributions were more valuable when it came to walking away with their first win of the season. For the Wizards to find success this season, Kuzma will have to do more than just score, made evident by the Grizzlies’ game. Facing the Celtics will be his toughest challenge yet this season, but the question remains: Can he continue playing at such a high level? Or will the Celtics prove to be too much for Kuzma?
Deni Advija has started both games so far and played respectfully throughout, however, Corey Kispert has had an incredible start to his 2023-24 season, which raises the question: Should Wes Unseld Jr. consider going with the latter in their upcoming matchup with the Boston Celtics? Let’s take a quick look at how they have performed thus far.
Advija vs. Pacers: Nine points, seven rebounds, five assists, one steal, and 4-8 (50%) from the field.
Kispert vs. Pacers: 11 points, five rebounds, one assist, and 4-11 (36.4%) from the field.
Advija vs. Grizzlies: 10 points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal, 4-8 (50%) from the field, and 2-3 (66.6%) from beyond the arc.
Kispert vs. Grizzlies: 22 points, three rebounds, two assists, one steal, 8-14 (57.1%) from the field, and 5-10 (50%) from beyond the arc.
There is an argument to be made as to why either Advija or Kispert should start against the Boston Celtics on Monday night, and I’m personally torn as to who I think will get the nod. I think both men will get respectable minutes throughout this game, but I think it’s most likely that Unseld Jr. will go with the same starting five, including Avdija.
Washington Wizards Predicted Lineup
PG: Tyus Jones
SG: Jordan Poole
SF: Deni Avdija
PF: Kyle Kuzma
C: Daniel Gafford
The Washington Wizards weren’t initially considered one of the standout teams this season. In fact, most preseason predictions placed them in the 13th-15th seed range. Can they demonstrate their capabilities by securing a victory against one of the championship favorites?
Boston Celtics: None
Washington Wizards: Landry Shamet – Questionable – Toe
Washington Wizards: Johnny Davis – Questionable – Elbow
Boston Celtics 114, Washington Wizards 97