D.C. Council Opening Statements: Wizards at Celtics, Game 25
The Wizards last visited Boston on April 7, 2013, and Jordan Crawford was already there waiting for them. He saw 16 minutes off the bench in a 107-96 Celtics win and made sure to get a measured six points on three shots with two assists and three turnovers in that time. The returns of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the court that night (for 26 and 30 minutes respectively) headlined the game, but ex-ish-Wizard Shavlik Randolph shined off the pine, in particular past and around Nene, who had essentially been checked out by the Lord at that late point in last season.
Now the Celtics are slightly different. Crawford is the headliner along with Jeff Green, Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger, and remnant Brandon Bass; Garrnett and Pierce toil away in Brooklyn; Randolph is now playing in China; Nene is a game-time Nene. The Celtics lead the Atlantic Division with a 12-15 record and this won’t be an easy game for the 11-13 Wizards. That’s how it always go…
Teams: Wizards at Celtics
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Venue: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Radio: WFED-AM 1500/THE FAN-FM 106.7
Spread: Celtics fav’d by 1-to-1.5 points
Wizards tickets … anyone?
Click to get them served up for cheap via TiqIQ and TAI.
Q #1: A friend in Connecticut sent me a text earlier this month: “I’m gonna hate Jordan Crawford come February, aren’t I?”
I did not respond (some friend) … perhaps because I didn’t want to let him down; perhaps because, well, some people do change. But maybe you should respond. What say you about Young Steez?
@MichaelVPina: Jordan Crawford is still well and capable of shooting his team out of games, and getting caught up in one-on-one battles against opposing point guards—as he did on Wednesday night against Brandon Jennings and the Detroit Pistons—but he’s also having the best season of his career. Just about every advanced number in existence supports that statement. So right now it’s fun. But nobody should be surprised if February is a nightmare.
Q #2: If Boston ends up making the playoffs in the (L)East, bouncing themselves out of the lottery, your emotional reaction will be: [?]
Otherwise, what will Brad Stevens need to do to ensure that Boston won’t win too many games without actually trying to lose, i.e., tank?
@MichaelVPina: If the Celtics don’t make the playoffs it will either be because someone (Jared Sullinger) suffers a major injury, or Danny Ainge trades away key contributors (Crawford, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green) for future assets. But making the playoffs shouldn’t be seen as the worst thing in the world. If/when Boston finds established talent to fast forward the rebuild, their eight first-round draft picks over the next four years should come in handy.
Q #3: Past Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger, which three Celtics are most likely to be on the team in three years (if three even qualify)?
Which Celtic has most surprised this season? Who has been most disappointing?
@MichaelVPina: Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley are two solid maybes. That’s about where the list ends. Most surprising has been Jordan Crawford, but most disappointing is more difficult to answer. Pretty much every player who had relevant expectations has either met or exceeded them. The default answer, then, I suppose, is Kelly Olynyk, who has yet to strap together one three-minute stretch where he looks like a good NBA player. But who cares? He’s a rookie.
Q #4: Nene who? John Wall who?
@Truth_About_It: Neither of those two. It’s all about Garrett Temple. Well, it’s actually all about John Wall. The Wizards should be just as concerned with him getting adequate rest as they are for Bradley Beal and Nene. Which brings us back to Garrett Temple, it’s all about him.
Eric Maynor, after getting a DNP-CD in Atlanta, saw three token minutes against the Clippers in D.C. the next night. Maynor went back to riding the bench against New York and Brooklyn. Against the Knicks, Randy Wittman found success with a lineup of Temple, Beal, Martell Webster, Jan Vesely, and Marcin Gortat. That crew finished plus-6 in six minutes, with Beal being noted as the key. Against the Nets, Temple, Webster, Trevor Ariza, Trevor Booker, and Nene finished plus-3 in three minutes; replace Booker with Kevin Seraphin and the lineup finished even-0 in three minutes. If not Beal (without Wall), Nene is the obviously key.
Maybe Maynor will get another chance with catalysts Beal and Nene. In fact, he most certainly will get another chance—58 games left. But right now, Temple is the option Randy Wittman trusts more. Temple won’t kill the Wizards on defense or with terrible mistakes. In Brooklyn, he made his first and only 3-pointer on the year in 227 minutes. After shooting 32.5 percent from deep last season, it took 10 attempts this season for Garrett to make a 3. Maybe now that he’s broken the seal on the season, Temple can serve as more of a legitimate backup for Wall.
Gerald Wallace is the NBA’s foremost authority in scowls and frowns (DeMarcus Cousins is a close second; Kendrick Perkins has lost rank and is now third).
How’s Crash doing in Beantown’s Big Dig this season? With two-years and $20 million left on his contract after this season, Wallace isn’t exactly trade material… So how does his tenure with Boston play out and what’s the over/under on the number of #CrashFrowns for the rest of this current season?
@MichaelVPina: Gerald Wallace has been doing the whole “mentor” thing, providing value in unquantifiable areas while the areas we can quantify tell us he looks like a week-old birthday cupcake covered in hardened driblets of wax. Wallace can still play some very good man-to-man defense, and his hustle is rarely misguided. But if the Celtics ever wanted to get rid of him, a future first-round pick would have to go along in the deal. Danny Ainge should be peddling that offer around the league every single day to see what he can get before Wallace’s worth sinks even lower.