Let’s do this again, shall we? The Wizards take on the Celtics tonight in the second game of their, home-and-home set, this one in Boston at 7:30 PM ET. And while Washington finally showed some effort in their fourth game of the season, some wonder if it was enough, or if they will simply improve upon it. If anything, it’s a chance for the Wiz Kids with their young legs to show they are capable of taking advantage of a veteran team. Three questions, three answers with TAI’s Adam McGinnis, Rashad Mobley and John Converse Townsend… 3-on-3 starts now…
Posts for category ‘Boston Celtics’
[The DC Council -- After each Wizards game: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the bench, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is over the table. Game 4 contributors: Adam McGinnis and John Converse Townsend who covered the game at the Verizon Center, and Sam Permutt, who watched the game all the way from Israel.]
Probably not a better time for the Wizards to show they care about playing basketball as a team than the first game in the New Year, one against familiar foes the Boston Celtics no less. For tonight’s 3-on-3 we Ryan DeGama from CelticsHub.com, Boston’s ESPN TrueHoop Network blog, along with Adam McGinnis and Kyle Weidie of TruthAboutIt.net. Three questions, three answers starts now…
#1 Ryan DeGama, CelticsHub.com: Rajon Rondo fancies himself the best (and fastest) point guard in the NBA. John Wall’s pedigree and potential mark him as a serious challenger to the top-PG throne. Project forward two years – would you rather have Rondo or Wall? Why?
DeGAMA: I love Rondo’s defense, even though he dogs it some nights, but I’m pretty critical of his offensive efforts, particularly his consistency from game-to-game, which remains a problem five seasons into his career. But I’m also leery of Wall’s shooting numbers, which suggest an uphill climb to competence. Ultimately, I tend towards Rondo in two years and Wall after that, because at 21 years old and four years younger than Rondo, Wall’s ceiling looks like it will ultimately be higher and more attainable.
McGINNIS: Although John Wall is currently mirrored in biggest slump of his professional career, I would still take him over Rajon Rondo in two years. I love Rondo’s overall game but Wall has greater speed and explosive athletic ability. Rondo’s ceiling is pretty much already reached while Wall still has potential to grow into more of an explosive scorer than Rondo once he acquires further NBA experience.
Sure, the best thing about the missed Von Wafer dunk on Monday night was him unknowingly flexing/basking in his own non-accomplishment afterward on the baseline, and then turning around to run back on defense only to find a teammate who’d recovered the live ball directly in his path. That teammate, Jermaine O’Neal, ended up being called for a violation because Wafer ran into him after he’d picked up his dribble, causing him to take another dribble. Boston turnover.
Actually, the “best thing” was that Wafer’s dunk would have put the Celtics up four points with three minutes left in overtime; Washington ended up winning by one point. But another “thing” about the failed dunk attempt was the warm towel and icy-hot rubdown that JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche offered Wafer as he easily glided toward the basket, unimpeded and observed from a comfy distance by the defense. Maybe the courteous treatment actually helped Wafer blow his easy dunk off the rim. We’ll never know.
What we do know is what the whole event looked like from the sideline, in picture form, and partially obscured by referee Dick Bavetta:
The Dunk Attempt.
[The Experimental McGee & Green - photo: K. Weidie]
Around 6:10pm, just 50 minutes before the Boston Celtics were to take on the Washington Wizards, a weary Doc Rivers stepped out of his office to meet with the media. He exchanged a few pleasantries with the familiar Boston media, and then he got right down to business and told everyone that Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were going sit the game out. The starters were going to be Delonte West, Von Wafer, Jermaine O’Neal, Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Jeff Green.
This was a curious move considering the Celtics went into Monday night just one game behind the Miami Heat for the second seed in the NBA playoffs. The Heat had to visit Atlanta to play the Hawks, and the Celtics had a very winnable game (with their starters at least) against Wizards, who they had just beaten on Friday night. Rivers seemed to be prematurely conceding that second seed to the Heat by removing his starters from the equation. He explained his actions before the game.
“We’re gonna sit our guys today and try to get some rest and get ready for the playoffs. The way were playing, we do need it, so we’re going to take it, plus we don’t have a lot of time. We got Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday [to rest our starters] and then Wednesday could be a great practice, so I’ d rather do that…The decision ws made in how we played last night [Sunday night's 100-77 loss to Miami].”
So I mistakenly published a post before last night’s game that I’d already prepared about Andray Blatche versus Kevin Garnett without first finding out that Garnett was to sit out against the Wizards. Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo and Shaquille O’Neal also joined Andray’s sort-of rival in not taking the court, a rivalry which Andray now gladly plays down.
But the game without Boston’s stars and Washington’s “veterans” (Nick Young, Rashard Lewis and Josh Howard) wasn’t exactly meaningless. Combined with a Miami Heat win over the Atlanta Hawks, Boston’s 95-94 overtime loss to the Wizards means they will finish third in the East with a match-up against the New York Knicks awaiting in the playoffs. Miami will face the seven-seed Philadelphia 76ers. On the other hand, all of the teams Washington’s draft lottery combination odds needed to win last night ended up losing. At 23-58 with one game left Wednesday at Cleveland, the Wizards now sit softy with the fourth worst record in the NBA, a game better than the Toronto Raptors and a game worse than each the Sacramento Kings and the New Jersey Nets, who both sit tied for the fifth worst record at 24-57.
“You always have people saying, ‘you’re winning games, you’re losing lottery balls,’ but I guess last year we showed it really didn’t matter where you are,” said Flip Saunders last night after the game. The coach relayed that he’d rather see his team learn the lesson of making a six-point comeback with less than a minute left in regulation than worry about down-the-road chances. And with that, I’d have to agree, especially if it means a disappointing departure for the Celtics fans that infiltrated the Verizon Center.
Waiting for Saunders at his post-game press conference, many members of the media scoffed at the idea of Washington’s win being entertaining. Flip himself called it a “grinder.” But if you like big missed dunks (thanks to Von Wafer), rookie No. 1 overall draft picks knocking down three crucial free-throws in a row (thanks to John Wall’s calmness that brought the Wizards within 83-82 with 21 seconds left in regulation), and a lottery-bound team making a six point comeback on playoff-bound reserves, amongst other notable occurrences, then the game was for you. If you like the nuance of a physical affair, played more like a meaningful game rather than with completely careless unfamiliarity, then you might be a basketball fan. All the stars need not be aligned, or around, to form a basketball game worthy of enjoyment in the season’s home finale. Wall and his team came through for the D.C. fans.
Tags: Andray Blatche, big baby, Boston Celtics, glen davis, JaVale McGee, jeff green, jermaine o'neal, John Wall, othyus jeffers, troy murphy, yi jianlian
[UPDATE: So yea, Garnett is not playing tonight, so there's that with publishing a pre-prepared post without checking.]
A match-up between the Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics always brings a bit of intrigue, regardless of win-loss records. This can usually be attributed to the presence of two players: Andray Blatche and Kevin Garnett.
The spat is like big brother, little brother, with Blatche once looking up to Garnett as an upcoming player. Many experts also long ago aptly compared the style of both. Well, a comparison in terms of their ability as lengthy big men who can stretch the floor. But that’s pretty much where it ends. Blatche has always lacked something intangibly significant that Garnett has. If you know anything about the game of basketball, you know what I’m talking about. And that’s seemingly what angers the old Celtic most in his face-offs against Blatche, that Andray is not what he should be. The treatment of little brother never ends in a friendly manner.
Watch during the game. Garnett will attempt to instigate Blatche out of his mental comfort zone with poking, prodding, talking, and everything in between. Last season, Blatche responded to Garnett’s “wolfing” (or woffing) to the point where it caused some strife between Blatche and his own coach, Flip Saunders.
In December of 2009, the Toronto Raptors defeated the Washington Wizards in overtime, 109-107 – mainly because of a tough shot by Hedo Turkoglu. The Wizards started slowly that game and found themselves quickly down 20-5, and in the end, they were just too gassed to close the deal in overtime. Afterward, Flip Saunders had this to say:
“We just buried ourselves in such a hole. You look at the end, the shot Turkoglu makes, it’s like the basketball gods … I always say they have a way of equaling things. And we just didn’t do what we needed to do.”
Just a month earlier, the Wizards found themselves in a similar situation against the Miami Heat. They started slow, fought hard to get back in the game, only to lose in the waning moments. Again, Coach Saunders referenced these magical, mystical gods of basketball:
“I remember the first minute, falling behind by 19, not coming out with the energy that we have played previously in all the games. The basketball gods will get you and you can’t cheat the game in a lot of situations.”
Scenes from sitting on the baseline at a Washington Wizards 85-83 win over the Boston Celtics. -KW
Every team needs a Cartier Martin. The Wizards already have their Cartier Martin, a basketball player who will always do anything needed/asked of him … even if it’s going after an errant ball in the vicinity of a Kevin Garnett hip check.
I believe this is Garnett’s version of a sh*t-eating grin. Convincing.
Normally we’d break down a play that the Wizards ran for the ‘Play Of The Night’. But, as you know, last night’s loss to the Celtics wasn’t quite normal. Instead, we’ll break down a pretty intelligent deception play from Boston … and in the process, you’ll just happen to see the clueless ways of the Wizards magnified.
This one starts with Rajon Rondo (1) bringing the ball up the middle of the floor. Boston’s bigs, Kevin Garnett (4) and Shaquille O’Neal (5), are posted at the elbows, Paul Pierce (3) is on the right wing, elbow extended, and Ray Allen (2) is on the right block. Since this play took play early in the third quarter, the Wizards’ starters are in: Kirk Hinrich (1), Gilbert Arenas (2), Al Thornton (3), Andray Blatche (4), and JaVale McGee (5).
Out of this set, Rondo uses the pick of Garnett (which Hinrich naturally goes under) to free up space, vision and a passing lane from his position on the left side of the court. As Rondo is moving, Pierce drops just a bit lower from his position. Allen, and here’s the part you could call a deception, has his head and eyes only focused on the Garnett/Rondo action — hence, the guy defending Allen, Arenas, has his defensive horse-blinders on and is only focused in that same direction. In fact, the head of every Wizard is pretty much frozen in the direction of Rondo, including Pierce’s defender, Thornton.
As Garnett turns clockwise to open for a pop out jumper, Pierce starts to cut baseline. Thornton is aware of this cut, but he’s not aware of what’s about to happen, because neither is Arenas. Just after Pierce begins his cut, Allen suddenly turns to screen Thornton. By the time Arenas becomes aware, it’s too late to communicate. Allen sets a great screen on Thornton, who, if he was more aware, would have been able to turn his body in the right direction to trail Pierce. Instead, Thornton turns the wrong way and gets caught up on the screen. Arenas, clearly confused himself, is not in good position to help on Pierce and switch with Thornton. The Wizards are clearly pretty unaware of scouting report action items.