Celtics at Wizards Preview
The Washington Wizards are lacking momentum entering the postseason and will look to end a four-game losing streak when they host the Boston Celtics on Tuesday. Washington’s troubles go back nearly six weeks as it has lost eight of its last 10 games and 13 of the past 19.
The Wizards’ issues were on full display in Friday’s 103-97 home loss to the lowly Atlanta Hawks, when they shot 40.2 percent from the field and coach Scott Brooks all but called his team selfish. “Nobody wanted to share the basketball,” Brooks told reporters. “It’s a simple game: you pass it to your teammate, you pass it because the game tells you. If you don’t pass to your teammates, you’re not going to end up getting good shots.” Boston also lost to Atlanta in its most recent outing, blowing a 13-point, fourth-quarter lead on Sunday while suffering a 112-106 setback that represented its third loss in the past four games. “We just have to finish the game,” backup center Greg Monroe told reporters. “I think from our side it was a sloppy game. We have to be better on the pick-and-roll, guarding the ball. They got too many easy layups at the rim so we got to be better.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, NBCS Boston
ABOUT THE CELTICS (54-26): Monroe is averaging 17.7 points over the past three games and even recorded the second triple-double of his eight-year career in Friday’s victory over the Chicago Bulls. Boston sees the 6-foot-11 Monroe as a valuable contributor in the upcoming postseason as the inside game will be more important with star outside shooter Kyrie Irving (knee) done for the season. “We need him to play well,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters of a player who averaged more than 15 points per game in five different seasons. “I think the biggest thing – obviously we’re going into the playoffs with less people on our roster, and down some guys. The bench play is going to be huge for us.”
ABOUT THE WIZARDS (42-38): Shooting guard Bradley Beal scored 32 points and was the only Washington starter to score more than 10 against the Hawks. Point guard John Wall sat out to rest his surgically repaired knee – he has played three games since returning – while too many of his teammates were looking tried and worn out. “It’s playoff time, we can’t be fatigued,” small forward Otto Porter Jr. told reporters. “We’ve been playing all year, and it’s playoffs. You have to step it up this next week. We have one more week to get ready.”
1. The Wizards are 2-1 against the Celtics this season but it was Boston that won in the earlier meeting at Washington – 110-104 in overtime on Feb. 8.
2. Boston PG Terry Rozier is 8-of-26 shooting over the past three games.
3. Washington backup C Ian Mahinmi (concussion) will likely miss his second straight game.