Here to provide the DC Council Opening Statements (formerly “Need to Know Basis”) for Washington’s third game of the season in Boston are TAI’s Rashad Mobley (@rashad20) and guest Jeff Clark (@celticsblog), who writes about the Celtics at the SB Nation blog CelticsBlog, along with an additional game prediction from Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It).
Wizards Starters (0-2):
A.J. Price, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, Trevor Booker, and Emeka Okafor
Celtics Starters (1-2):
Rajon Rondo, Courtney Lee, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jared Sullinger
Q #1: What have you done for me lately?
(What’s the status of the Celtics over the past week?)
Jeff Clark: Practice, practice, practice. So far all they’ve been able to do is focus on three bad games (two losses and one squeaker win against a team missing their two best players—the Wizards). They aren’t playing defense the way they want to, and they have to face Doc’s disappointed face and Kevin Garnett’s terrifying glare. Methinks they’ll be ready for Wednesday.
Q #2: Who threw out my alarm clock?
(Which player(s) are we sleeping on?)
Jeff Clark: Courtney Lee is quietly one of the most important pieces to this puzzle. Jason Terry has the bigger name and Jeff Green has the bigger contract, but Lee’s addition to this team was one of the more underrated moves of the summer. So far his shots haven’t been falling, but, once they do, his ability to stretch the floor and defend on the other end is going to be huge for this team.
Q #3: What game-within-the-game counts most?
(What matchup between two players or between each team in a particular statistical category is most important.)
Jeff Clark: Look no further than the plus/minus numbers when Kevin Garnett is not on the court. With him on the court, teams find it hard to score. When he’s on the bench (Doc is keeping him on a minutes leash to keep him fresh for later in the season) things suddenly open up for opposing offenses. Funny how that happens. If only we could clone KG… Well, never mind. I don’t think the world is ready for that.
Q #4: How it’s going down?
(TAI’s general key to the game.)
“If I’m the Wiz, I take it to the Celtics early to see if they can match my intensity and physicality. Smart money says they can’t. Right now, they just don’t seem up for the fight.”
The Wizards starters came out and did the exact opposite by shooting 13 percent (2-for-15) the first eight minutes of the game, and falling behind 17-4. Yes, they eventually came back and took the lead with 2:56 left, but stronger play from the opening tip would have certainly helped their cause. Coach Wittman—whether it comes via a passionate pre-game speech or an overhaul to the starting lineup—needs to press those elusive buttons to get his team started. The closer the Wizards stay to the C’s throughout the entire game, the more minutes Garnett and Pierce will have to play to bail Boston out.
The Spread: The Celtics are favored by 10 points and the over/under is 187 points (via USA Today).
Jeff Clark: Boston 100 – Washington 80
@rashad20: The Wizards pushed the Celtics late in Saturday’s game, which means that Doc Rivers will have little to no trouble motivating his team to take tonight seriously. Bradley Beal and Trevor Booker will play much better than they did on Saturday, but Rondo will assert himself a bit more offensively to exploit A.J. Price and Jannero Pargo. Celtics win, 101-84.
@Truth_About_It: I expect a grind-it-out, defensive affair. If the Wizards find a way to attempt 30 free-throws and make over 75 percent of them, I say they win (Wiz have shot 12-for-20 and 12-for-17 from the line in their first two games). Unfortunately, that’s a tall task, especially if Jordan Crawford is hindered by a bum ankle. But, I expect Crawford to be a gamer and for him to be fueled by Saturday’s loss along with past “interactions” with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Wizards 80, Boston 79.