November 7, 2012 Washington Wizards VS Boston Celtics Preview
Washington @ Boston, 7:30 PM
RECORD: Washington (0-2), Boston (1-2)
Why you should watch: Grudge Match
This second game has an almost college-like feel to it, as the Wizards play the Celtics for the second time in five days to finish up this home-home matchup. The first game was marred by Washington’s slow start in the first quarter, where nothing was going in and the defensive stops were similarly not happening. The starters have gotten off to a bad start in both games this season, and that has to change in order for the Wizards to win.
Luckily, Kevin Seraphin and Jordan Crawford came off the bench to help alleviate some of the listlessness of the starting five. Seraphin didn’t miss a shot until midway through the third quarter, and he finished with 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting, and chipped in 7 rebounds as well. Crawford, meanwhile, had 21 points on an efficient shooting night but rolled his ankle during the game and hasn’t really practiced all week since.
For the Wizards to win, they are going to need Crawford healthy, but more importantly they are going to need more out of their starters. That includes the young Bradley Beal, who failed to make a shot in his home opener. Without question, Beal is going to want to make up for that again and try to win the matchup against Courtney Lee tonight. Through two games Ariza has been a complete nonfactor, and Okafor simply cannot provide the offense expected of him (though defensively he hasn’t been entirely brutal). Adding Nene would help, but he is still listed as questionable.
1.) Bradley Beal’s Zeal
As I stated before, Bradley Beal was downright awful in his home opener. He got some lawn chairs, a portable TV, and coronas and just posted up at the three point line all night expecting others to do the work for him. Well, that strategy didn’t work (and it rarely does against the Celtics), so it’s back to the drawing board for Beal. His struggles can be blamed on his youth, but at the same time the #3 pick isn’t paid to be youthful; he is paid to score points and be aggressive.
Beal can get back on track, but Courtney Lee is a tough guy to go up against. His tendencies are to not leave his man and play him tough. Beal should be constantly moving without the ball to create open looks for himself and force Lee to always be on the move. Finding open lanes is going to be, really, the only time he will get to score. Let’s hope he doesn’t put up another dud, or he may find himself sopping up bench minutes (and I really, don’t think he’s a bench player).
2.) Will Jordan Crawford be healthy?
That’s a big one. Jordan Crawford was the biggest reason the Wizards were even in the game last Saturday, and if his ankle is not right it could spell doom for Washington. His spark off the bench is one that I was calling for in the offseason simply because he is, as my colleague stated, “a microwave.” He can heat up at the push of a button, or he can go cold after an amount of time. Either way, it looks great when he comes in and carries the load.
He hasn’t practiced, but I can imagine the Wizards only did that as a precautionary move so as not to further stress the injury. If Crawford can’t cut to the basket as well on drives and has to rely on his outside shooting, Washington is going to hurt.
Washington goes to the Garden and slaps a Boston team upside the head for a revenge win thanks to stronger performances by their starters. Beal finally has his breakout game and the Wizards take the W on the road.