The Washington Wizards head into their sixth game with a 1-5 record as they host the Boston Celtics (3-3). Although the Wizards record would indicate that they’re off to a slow start, there are more problems than one would imagine.
The Celtics had the Wizards’ number last season, defeating them is all three meetings. Point guard Isaiah Thomas averaged 25.3 points per game throughout the three games. The Wizards will hope to limit his looks at the basket as much as possible, but have struggled to guard as a team on the perimeter for the majority of the young season.
The Wizards desperately need a win to gain some confidence heading into Friday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. But for this team, no game can be overlooked.
What to watch for:
- Both Al Horford (concussion protocol) and Jae Crowder (ankle) won’t make the trip with the team to the nation’s capital. The Celtics will have to look elsewhere to replace their combined 25.5 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game. Rookie Jaylen Brown will likely get the start in place for Crowder. While he has shown signs of being an effective player for the future, the 20-year-old is still getting used to the NBA game. The Wizards should look to take advantage. Brown will likely be matched up on Otto Porter, who is posting career-high numbers of 14 points and 7.3 rebounds per game
- John Wall guarded James Harden well in the first half of last game. The same efforts will be mandatory against Thomas to be sure he doesn’t rattle off for another 32-point performance as he did last season. With Horford and Crowder out, Thomas can look to be more aggressive looking for his own shot. It’s simple, if Wall limits Thomas, the Celtics will be very limited overall.
- After not playing in the two previous game before the loss to the Rockets, Kelly Oubre will look to insert himself in the rotation from here on out. He finished last game with 10 points hitting 2-of-3 from beyond the arc in 14 minutes of play. Both Oubre and Tomas Satoransky have the chance to be the first two options off the bench until Ian Mahinmi returns from injury, but consistency and scoring is imperative.
- The Wizards have experienced a scoring drought in every game this season. In the majority of their losses, it has occurred in the fourth quarter. Against the Rockets, it was both the second and fourth quarters when they shot 6-of-24 and 7-of-21 respectively. If they find themselves in a similar position against Boston, attacking the rim and getting to the free-throw line will be their best bet. Aside from the Orlando game when Bradley Beal visited the charity stripe a career-high 14 times, he hasn’t been as focused on drawing fouls as he should be.