Game Notes: Boston vs. Washington

-Washington Post beat writer Ivan Carter reported yesterday that prior to yesterday’s trade, the Wizards were close to trading Antonio Daniels and Etan Thomas for Chicago Bulls guard Larry Hughes in October.  That deal fell through when Hughes, who played in Washington from 2002-2005, injured his shoulder.

-Coach Tapscott said that Mike James and Javaris Crittenton passed their physicals, as did former Wizards’ guard Antonio Daniels, so all players are active and available.  Coach Tapscott said James would probably get more playing time tonight, since the offense he ran in New Orleans was similar to what the Wizards run.  Crittenton’s playing time would depend on how the game feels according to Tapscott.  James played 10 minutes and scored a point, had one steal, one rebound and one personal foul.  He went of 0-for-6 from the field.  Crittenton played five minutes of garbage time and did not score, but had four turnovers.

-Antawn Jamison started off guarding Kevin Garnett, while JaVale McGee guarded Kendrick Perkins.  Coach Tapscott said that he did not want to break the rookie McGee’s confidence by starting him off on an MVP candidate, and he feels Jamison will matchup better with Garnett.  Tapscott added that it is entirely possible that McGee may ultimately end up on Garnett due to switches, and he has confidence that McGee will do well.  When Andray Blatche enters the game, he will also spend some time guarding Garnett.  Once the game started, McGee ended up having a much tougher time with Perkins on both ends on the floor.  During one stretch, Perkins blocked McGee’s shot on the offensive end of the floor, then went down on offense and dunked right in McGee’s face.  The few times McGee did guard Garnett, McGee did an excellent job at forcing him into a difficult shot.  The next time the Celtics and Wizards play, I would not be at all surprised if McGee starts on Garnett.

-Before the game Coach Tapscott said his plan for his Wizards team was for them to hustle and play hard all 48 minutes.  Then he quoted Mike Tyson by saying, “Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth.”  Tonight, the Celtics hit the Wizards in the mouth early and often, and they never fully recovered.

-Coach Tapscott told a funny story of how he used to attend Boston Celtics games as a student at Tufts University.  The Tufts policy was that the basketball team could go to any basketball game for only a $1.  Tapscott joked that he went to so many games that his grade point averaged dropped and his father questioned what he had been doing.  Tapscott never told his father that he spent every moment he could at the Boston Garden.  He also mentioned that he met former Celtics great and Hornets coach Paul Silas during that time.

-While Celtics guard Leon Powe was doing stretches and putting on his uniform in the locker room before the game, he and Glen ”Big Baby” Davis were watching film of the Wizards/Pistons game from Tuesday night, and they were closely watching the last five minutes. It was interesting hearing a player’s perspective to the another team’s struggles.

-Garnett has a big bandage on his right knee, and while it didn’t seem to hinder him during the game, it did not look like your average knee brace.  After the game, Coach Doc Rivers said that Garnett had bumped his knee during practice and it caused a bruise to form, but it was nothing to be concerned about going forward.

-The Wizards lost this game in the first half, and it can be directly attributed to backcourt play or lack thereof.  The Wizards made the trade for James and Crittenton, because they felt like the backcourt of Dee Brown and Antonio Daniels was not getting it done.   Tonight, after one half, the backcourt of Juan Dixon and DeShawn Stevenson combined for six points, two assists, one rebound, and six turnovers.  Conversely, the Celtics backcourt of Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen combined for 21 points, five assists, two rebounds, one steal and no turnovers. In the defense of the Wizards, James and Crittenton just arrived, and they may end up making their mark in the future.  But tonight’s game just illustrated just how important strong backcourt play can influence the outcome of the game.

-Speaking of DeShawn Stevenson, his line was absolutely abysmal this evening.  In 22 minutes, he shot 0-for-4 from the field, and ended up with no points and four turnovers.  Just a couple of weeks ago he blamed his struggles on the Wizards’ lack of a point guard getting him the ball in his sweet spot.  But tonight, he missed wide open shots, and he never looked to be aggressive, even when Ray Allen was clearly playing off of him.  On a night when Allen scored 22 points in 31 minutes, Stevenson’s ineptitude stuck out that much more.  Selfishly speaking, I’d like to see Nick Young start in that two spot, because at least he would be more aggressive.

-Speaking of Ray Allen, during  the first half of last year’s playoffs, his jumper and his overall game were virtually non-existent, and he was mired in one of the worst slumps of his career.  Tonight, Allen looked like his old self again, as he went 8-for-13 from the field, including 4-for-7 from the three-point line.  When he’s on target, there is no sweeter jumpshot in the league.

-Despite the Wizards lopsided loss, the one bright spot was Juan Dixon’s play in the third quarter.  The Wizards as team outscored the Celtics 35-26 in that quarter, and they were led by the play of Dixon on both ends of the floor.  In the third quarter alone, Dixon had 11 points, five assists, two steals and a blocked shot, and he gave the Wizards a glimmer of hope, by helping to shrink the Celtics lead from 24 to 10 points. Then Leon Powe and Eddie House hit free throws and a three pointer respectively and that raised the lead back up to 15, and the Wizards never got any closer.  Still, it was nice to see Dixon thrive in the point guard position.

-At several points during the second half, Dixon and House were matched up against one another, and I found that matchup to be intriguing.  Both players are natural-born shooters, but due to their height limitations, they are forced to incorporate their point guard skills with their great shooting ability and at times they struggle to merge the two.  Tonight, Dixon played that role perfectly by dishing out seven assists to go with his 17 points.  The Celtics did not really need House’s point guard acumen this evening, but they did rely on his shooting in the fourth quarter.

-At several points during the first half, the Wizards looked listless and extremely sluggish with little to no flow to the offense. In the past when they hit a spell like that,  Coach  Tapscott would insert Antonio Daniels into the game to steady the ship so to speak.  With Daniels gone there was no such option, and his absence was clearly felt.

-I was very impressed with the game of Kendrick Perkins.  He has definintely settled into his role as an intimidating post presence, and I have to think that the intense presence of Kevin Garnett had been an influence.  After a dunk or a block, Perkins’ body language is as demonstrative as Garnett’s.  In fact, when Perkins makes a significant play on defense, he does not run back down the court, but he walks with a slow, defiant strut, as if to say, “I am Kendrick Perkins, and you’re not!”

-After the game, Coach Rivers was asked about the Friday night return of former Celtic, and current New Orleans Hornet James Posey.  Rivers remarked that Poseys importance during the championship run was extremely important, and he hoped that the Celtics’ fans cheered him durin pregame warmups, and then booed him at every point thereafter.

-After the game, Celtics guard Ray Allen said that the motivation for his team to win another title was not to be labeled “a one-hit wonder”.  He said that the fact that his Celtics team started 21-2. better than any other Celtics team, was definitely a great motivation.  He said that little achievements like that are important towards this team creating their own lasting legacy.

-Paul Pierce was extremely careful not to compare this year’s team and their accomplishments to last year’s team.  When asked if his team’s record setting 21-2 start meant they were better, Pierce said, “We don’t know yet..its a long season. Ask me after the All-Star break.”

-We tend to think of Michael Wilbon as a columnist for the Washington Post and co-host of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, not necessarily a journalist.  But after the game, there was Wilbon right there with the beat writers, asking questions, jotting down notes and conducting his own interviews after the game.  Considering this is how he got his start in journalism, it was both inspiring and refreshing to see him reverting back to his roots.  My respect for Wilbon increased tenfold after seeing this.

-Speaking of ESPN, their former ombudsmen, George Solomon, who also used to be the sports editor of the Washington Post, and who currently is a columnist with the Post, was in attendance at Coach Tapscott’s pregame press conference.

- Final score:  Celtics 122 – Wizards 88

-Next game:  Wizards/Pacers on Monday at 7pm.

About the Author

Rashad Mobley Rashad Mobley is a senior writer for Hoops Addict who has covered the Washington Wizards with media credentials since the 2008-2009 NBA season. He has appeared on Fox Sports Radio and KRNU 90.3.

Comments (2)

  1. iamse7en

    YES. START NICK YOUNG.

    Deshawn really isn’t bringing anything to the table. His defense has seemed to get worse, his shot (though very inconsistent in the past) is now just consistently bad. I think we need to get rid of him. Cancerous.

    We cut it to 10 points, and so I had hopes of a run (like we did against the Lakers), but I think it showed just how damn good the Celtics are. The Lakers didn’t look impressive when we played them. Their defense struggles, and I think it’s probably due to lack of focus.

    The Celtics are extremely focused and aggressive on Defense. I know that’s what they’re known for, but behind the leadership of Garnett, this team comes out to PLAY each night. It’s gotta be a good time to be a Celtics fan. Perhaps they’d be interested in a Etan/Deshawn for Garnett/Pierce trade?

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