Boston Celtics vs Washington Wizards: Lineups, preview & prediction 4/10/18
The Wizards face a must-win situation in terms of playoff seeding when they host their heated rivals and possible first-round foes, the Celtics.
With virtually nothing left to play for, the Boston Celtics (54-26) took the loss against the Atlanta Hawks in their most recent outing, 112-106. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens elected to sit his starters for the entire fourth quarter where they were outscored by 12 points. Jayson Tatum, who sat out against the Bulls, had a strong night in his return to the lineup with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting and four steals. Greg Monroe added 17 points off the bench, while Terry Rozier had a near-triple-double with ten points, eight rebounds, and nine assists.
The Celtics will square off with the Washington Wizards (42-38), who now find themselves in the No. 8 seed as they suffered a 103-97 loss at home to the Atlanta Hawks. It was the Wizards’ fourth loss in a row. Although, two of those defeats came without star point guard John Wall, who was rested against the Hawks since it was the second night of a back-to-back. Bradley Beal had a team-high 32 points in Wall’s absence, but no other Wizards player had it going apart from him. They shot a disappointing 40 percent from the field overall.
Three keys to the game
John Wall returns – Wall’s absence was obviously a big deal to the Wizards, which contributed significantly to their loss to the Hawks. But the All-Star point guard will be back against Boston, which should be a nice boost to the Wizards.
Motivation – Speaking of boots, the Wizards have so much more to play for with playoff seeding still on the line. A win against Boston could be the difference between the eighth seed and a matchup against the Raptors or the seventh seed and a meeting against the Celtics, who will be without Kyrie Irving for the entire playoffs.
Rivalry factor – The Wizards will also not be lacking in motivation to beat the Celtics, with whom they’ve shared a rivalry with for the past few seasons. However, that could also work both ways, with the Celtics possibly getting up for this game to get one over on their recent rivals.
Matchup to watch
Terry Rozier vs John Wall – Rozier is never one to back away from a challenge, even if it is against an All-Star like Wall. Rozier has especially enjoyed playing the Wizards this season and will be eager to do more damage against Wall and co.
Celtics projected starting lineup
PG – Terry Rozier | SG – Jaylen Brown | SF – Jayson Tatum | PF – Al Horford | C – Aron Baynes
Wizards projected starting lineup
PG – John Wall | SG – Bradley Beal | SF – Otto Porter | PF – Markieff Morris | C – Marcin Gortat
Rozier, Jayson Tatum, and Marcus Morris have all had strong games against Washington at some point. All three are averaging 16 points in the three meetings against the Wizards this season. If the Celtics are to come away from D.C. with a win, it will probably be because one or more of those three had a huge game.
As for the Wizards, Otto Porter has had a successful time against the Celtics’ wings. The Washington forward is averaging 21.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.0 steals in three games against them.
The Wizards have to have this game, and despite their inconsistent nature, the visit of a rival to their home floor should be enough to get them fired up. However, the Celtics have proven that they could be a handful even when shorthanded. Therefore, the chances of them covering the 6.5-point spread should be fairly high.
The Wizards take care of business at home as they score a hard-fought 108-103 home win.
This game will be broadcast on TNT. Tip-off is at 8:00 pm Eastern.