Opening Statements: Wizards at Celtics, Game 19 | Wizards Blog Truth About

Opening Statements: Wizards at Celtics, Game 19

Updated: December 7, 2014

Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics - Nov. 7, 2012 - Truth About

Two NBA teams carrying out two very different organizational philosophies meet on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. in the TD Garden in Boston. The Celtics are a young team willing to play fast and loose while GM Danny Ainge figures out the next step in the franchise’s evolution. Coach Brad Stevens’ contract and experience indicate that he has time on his side, and that he is one of the best minds in basketball. In fact, he could probably guide your last intramural squad to the NCAA Championship.

Stevens’ Celtics are tied with the Warriors for the fastest pace (100.5 possessions/game) in the league, and are also near the top of the league in fast-break points (16.9 points/game). Boston is tied for the sixth most 3-point attempts in the NBA (23.3 3pt/game). Rajon Rondo, when not racking up assists (third in the NBA after Chris Paul and Ty Lawson), eats breakfast and talks shop with Kobe Bryant. However, the 6-11 Celtics are ranked 19th in offensive efficiency and 23rd in defensive efficiency—as currently constructed, this is not a playoff team, but they already know that.

Meanwhile, the 13-5 Wizards are a deep, defensive-oriented team with eyes on the Eastern Conference Finals. They rank third in field goal percentage allowed (42.8%) and fourth in defensive efficiency. Washington is ranked just 14th in offensive efficiency because, among other things, the Wizards should probably shoot more 3s. John Wall, Bradley Beal, Paul Pierce, Nene, and Marcin Gortat form a legitimately terrifying starting lineup. With some luck, and barring injury, this team could reach the all important top ten in both offensive and defensive efficiency benchmark of many championship contenders.

And yet, the Wizards are favored by just four points in Beantown.

Pierce makes his third return to Boston since leaving the Celtics (first as a Wizard; Doc Rivers thinks he’s still a Celtic), it’s Larry Bird’s 58th birthday, and, oh yea, Kevin Seraphin turns 25 years old today. #StayWOKE, my guys.

—Arish Narayen (@arish_narayen)

Teams: Wizards at Celtics
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Venue: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Television: CSN
Radio: WFED-AM 1500/WTEM-FM 99.1
Spread: Wizards favored by 4 points.



—via Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)


The Celtics are a 6-11 team but curiously enough, their seven most-used five-man units are all finishing in the black (or green) in overall plus-minus. Of course. Brad Stevens has used about 172 different five-man units this season—it all adds up.

Most Used Lineup: Rajon Rondo – Avery Bradley – Jeff Green – Jared Sullinger – Kelly Olynyk
138 mins, plus-8, 46.8% FGs, 30.6% 3Ps

Best Lineup: Rondo – Bradley – Green – Sullinger – Tyler Zeller
80 mins, plus-42, 55.2% FGs, 51.2% 3Ps

Worst Lineup: Rondo – Bradley – Evan Turner – Green – Sullinger
15 mins, minus-17, 35.7% FGs, 25% 3Ps

(‘Best’ and ‘Worst’ for lineups playing 10 or more minutes together; the best lineup is also the second-most used. Note the one player difference in each of the above lineups—Olynyk to Zeller to Turner.)


One reason why the Tyler Zeller five-man unit might be more successful than the Kelly Olynyk one is that Zeller averages 4.2 offensive rebounds per 48 minutes, Olynyk averages just 2.6 (still third most on the team). Sullinger leads the Celtics with 4.4 offensive boards per 48. On Washington’s side, Kris Humphries leads the Wizards with 4.5 offensive boards per 48 minutes followed by Marcin Gortat and Drew Gooden (3.7 each).

Keeping Sullinger off the boards will be key. Amongst NBAers with 500 or more minutes this season, Sullinger’s Offensive Rebounding Rate (percentage of all offensive rebounds that he grabs while on the floor) ranks 14th in the NBA (10.1%), sandwiched right between Joakim Noah and Greg Monroe.


  • The Celtics attempt 24.1 shots from midrange per game (8th most in NBA) and hit them at a rate of 42.3 percent (ranked 6th best).
  • Reminder: the Wizards are fifth in midrange attempts, 28.2, and make 39.6 percent of them, ranked right in the middle of the league (15th).

Last Time.

—via Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

The Wizards finished 3-1 versus the Celtics last season. The brief:

  • Washington won 118-102 in Boston on April 16, the last regular season game of 2013-14. The Wizards shot just under 57 percent and clinched the 5-seed in the playoffs. [D.C. Council]
  • The Wizards won 118-92 in Washington on April 2, clinching a birth in the playoffs. It wasn’t always pretty, the Wiz committed 21 turnovers, but 62.5 percent shooting (plus 10 3-pointers) will help cure that. [D.C. Council]
  • Boston surprised Washington with a 113-111 overtime win in the District on January 22, 2014. Jeff Green dropped 39 points and Phil Pressey came out of nowhere to score 20 versus John Wall (and steal his soul on a tie ball). [D.C. Council]
  • The first meeting last season came at the TD Garden in Boston on December 21, 2013, a 106-99 Wizards win. It was billed as a ‘Jordan Crawford Revenge Game’—he scored 11 points on 5-for-11 shooting with eight assists and five turnovers in 33 minutes. Crawford hit a teardrop, committed #SteezDribbles. Trevor Ariza’s 27 points on 9-for-18 shooting (5-for-8 3Ps) made the difference. [D.C. Council]


Panda Up, Chin Up.

Gortat dunking on Kris Humphries.


Arish Narayen