Washington Wizards vs Boston Celtics: Lineups, preview & prediction 3/14/18

Celtics coach Brad Stevens is going to find out if his kids are all right as short-handed Boston host the struggling Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

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The Celtics (46-21) will be without at least two starters and potentially three for this contest, which is less than ideal considering they are now four games behind the Toronto Raptors for the Atlantic Division lead and the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Boston’s starting backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown have been ruled for this game, with Irving possibly being out the next few games due to tendinitis in his left knee. Brown suffered a concussion in Sunday’s 99-97 loss to Indiana and is day-to-day. Starting power forward Al Horford is questionable for this game because of an illness.

Backup guard Marcus Smart is again sidelined with a thumb injury, which means Terry Rozier and Shane Larkin could be the starting guards if Stevens keeps Jayson Tatum at small forward. Rozier averaged 19.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 5.7 assists in his first three NBA starts earlier this season, highlighted by a triple-double against the New York Knicks on January 31 and a career-high 31 points versus the Atlanta Hawks two nights later.

Washington (38-30) have dropped back-to-back games and five of seven overall after a 116-111 home loss to Minnesota on Tuesday night. Markieff Morris had a season-high 27 points, but the Wizards were again pounded in the paint as Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns had 37 and ten rebounds as Washington yielded 64 points in the paint.

The Wizards have had their lead over Miami atop the Southeast Division cut to two games as they open a four-game stretch against teams fighting for position in the NBA playoff race. Washington, though, have won eight of their last ten road games, averaging 111.1 points and shooting 49.9 percent in that span.

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