Apr 7, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics shooting guard Jordan Crawford (27) drives the ball past Washington Wizards center Nene (42) and point guard John Wall (2) during the second half at the TD Garden. The Celtics won 107-96. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview: Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics (Key Match Up, Notes, and Prediction)

The Wizards have won two straight against both the Knicks and Nets on the road, and they’ll look to continue their recent winning ways against the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden. It’s an early Saturday afternoon game tomorrow and the tip off will be at 1:00 PM.

Key Match Up:

Who would’ve thought that Jordan Crawford would emerge as a go-to player for the Boston Celtics after getting traded for scraps from Washington? Crawford’s time in the nation’s capital wasn’t necessarily a story book ending as he was essentially ousted for refusing to buy into Randy Wittman’s style of play. The former Wizards gunner was rewarded for his resurgent play in Boston, winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week just a few weeks ago after averaging over 23 points per game during that span. Crawford has thrived in Boston, so rookie head coach Brad Stevens must be doing something right. We all know that he could score the ball, but the Wizards have done a good job defending scorers this season, judging from their defensive performances against the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Joe Johnson, and even J.R Smith.

John Wall knows Crawford’s tendencies. If Jordan Crawford is going to light up the Wizards, Wall has to make sure he does it from the perimeter. He’s shooting under 34% from the field and 20% from 3-point territory in the past five games, so the Wizards have to force Crawford into tough shots. He’ll inevitably get the hot hand at some point in the game, but the Wizards have shown very good composure when other teams make their runs this season. The Celtics aren’t a very talented team, but they’ve surprisingly already won 13 games this season. Crawford has taken the reigns at point guard with Rajon Rondo sidelined with injury and he’s done a decent job. John Wall and the Wizards can’t let Crawford beat them alone. If they force him into tough shots, I think they should be fine.

Notes:

  • The Celtics are last in assists per game as a team. Could this be the Jordan Crawford effect?
  • They’re also at the bottom ten in points per game and rebounds per game. Washington dominated the boards against the Brooklyn Nets, who were just one spot above the Celtics in rebounding.
  • Boston has a top-10 defensive rating, which could be credited to Brad Stevens.
  • Nene will be on limited minutes, so he could potentially come off the bench once again.

Prediction:

Although this game isn’t easy by any means, the Wizards should have the upper hand against the Celtics.

Boston is 7-7 at home and they’ve lost 3 of their last 5 games. Washington seems to finally be getting healthy and the wins are starting to come around as a result. John Wall and Bradley Beal have both played very well since Beal returned from injury, and Marcin Gortat is starting to pick up his play with Nene in the lineup. Boston will certainly have trouble on the glass against the Booker-Gortat frontcourt, and I think that’s what will ultimately win the Wizards the game.

Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, and Jared Sullinger are all very capable of scoring the ball, but I think that could be negated by Martell Webster, Trevor Ariza, and possibly another Wizards wing. Washington is too talented to lose, and if they want to make the postseason, they’ll have to find a way to win games on the road against teams like the Celtics.

I think the Wizards will win the game, making it three in a row on the road. John Wall has to limit his turnovers and the bigs have to crash the boards. If they don’t overlook Boston, they should be able to pull out the win.

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