Wizards-Celtics Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 06, 2012
Coming off their first win, the Boston Celtics return home to face an opponent they're already familiar with this season. The Celtics and the Washington Wizards meet for the second time in five days Wednesday night in Boston. After opening the season with back-to-back double-digit losses, Boston got into the win column Saturday night with an 89-86 victory in Washington. "I think everyone is starting to figure out that to be a good team, you have to work at it. It's hard work," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "You don't just show up, and because you have some good names on a piece of paper, you become good." Rajon Rondo has been good, averaging 15.3 points, 12.0 assists and 5.3 rebounds in three games while racking up double-doubles in each. Rondo had 12 points and 12 assists Saturday, giving him 27 consecutive games with 10 or more assists - tied with John Stockton for the third-longest such streak in NBA history. Paul Pierce, who shot just 3 of 11 in Friday's home loss to Milwaukee, will try to carry over the momentum from a 27-point effort in Washington. Pierce has 50 points in two road games. Although they outrebounded the defending champion Heat to open the season, the Celtics (1-2) have lost the battle of the boards 92-71 over the past two games. The Wizards (0-2), led by Trevor Booker's 10 rebounds, had a 46-35 edge Saturday. Washington has lost five straight games in this series and will be looking to avoid a fifth consecutive loss in Boston since last winning there 106-96 on April 9, 2010. That was also the last time in the series' past 12 games the Wizards topped the 100-point mark. Playing without John Wall (knee) and Nene (plantar fasciitis), the Wizards have struggled to score. Washington ranks near the bottom of the league with 85.0 points per game and a 39.3 shooting percentage. The Wizards are shooting 26.9 percent from 3-point range and 64.9 percent from the foul line. "Our execution has got to continue to get better," coach Randy Wittman said. "We have a lot of new faces and we're doing a lot of new things, even with the guys who have been here." One of those new faces belongs to A.J. Price, who's particularly struggled while trying to fill in for Wall. The former Pacer is shooting 21.7 percent through two games and seems to be settling for deep jumpers, attempting 14 3-pointers. To make matters worse, Jordan Crawford, who had a team-high 21 points against the Celtics, hurt his left ankle in the second half and is a game-time decision Wednesday. "It's sore," Crawford said. "I'm just taking it day-by-day." If he can't go, Bradley Beal and Martell Webster will see an increase in playing time. Beal, the No. 3 overall pick this year, has struggled early with 10 points on 2 of 13 shooting. Emeka Okafor, acquired from the Hornets in the offseason, has also started slow with 13 points on 5 of 16 shooting in his two starts. The Wizards, however, did receive a boost when Kevin Seraphin returned against the Celtics. After missing the opener with a calf injury, Seraphin, who averaged 15.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in the final month last season, scored 19 points on 8 of 9 shooting with seven rebounds on Saturday.
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