Monday, February 26, 2024
Sportsbook Advisor

NBA Preview: Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics will return home with momentum on their side after back-to-back road wins as they prepare to host Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

After dropping two games to open the season, the Celtics knocked off the Houston Rockets on Sunday before pulling out a 140-129 overtime win over the surging Charlotte Hornets on Monday.

Tatum scored a game-high 41 points and dished out eight assists, while co-star Jaylen Brown added 30 points — including two on a highlight-reel dunk in overtime — and grabbed nine rebounds for Boston.

“It’s a good win, getting in late (Sunday) night and both teams playing a back-to-back, so there was no room for excuses,” Tatum said. “It just showed that we had some fight in us, some toughness.”

The Celtics will need a better showing than their last home game in order to pick up their first TD Garden victory. They suffered a 115-83 blowout loss to the Toronto Raptors last Friday — a result that translates to their worst home loss since March of 2007.

“I think the Toronto game was the aberration,” first-year Boston coach Ime Udoka said. “We were building on that, playing the way we wanted to.”

After playing without Brown on Sunday, the Celtics were missing starting center Al Horford and reserve Romeo Langford on Monday. Horford sat out with a left- adductor strain while Langford was dealing with left-calf tightness.

Despite a 104-90 setback at the Brooklyn Nets on Monday for their first loss after a 2-0 start, the Wizards were happy to get Beal back after their All-Star guard missed one game with a right-hip contusion.

Beal led the team with 19 points against Brooklyn, although his points didn’t come easily on an 8-for-22 shooting night — including 3-of-13 from 3-point range.

“I think we kind of have the mindset that we can just kind of flip on a light switch and come out and win,” Beal said. “It definitely starts with me — I’ve got to be better all around.”

Washington featured six double-digit scorers in the loss, although none aside from Beal had more than 13 points (Daniel Gafford). The Wizards’ starters were 23 of 65 from the floor while the team shot just 34.7 percent.

“Biggest takeaway was our offense — we just got stagnant,” Washington first-year coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “We kind of settled and fell into (bad matchups off of switches), playing a lot of one-on-one iso ball.”

Despite Beal’s return, the Wizards were hampered by injuries against the Nets as they played without Thomas Bryant (recovery from left-knee injury), Anthony Gill (right-calf strain) and Cassius Winston (left-hamstring strain). Rui Hachimura (conditioning) remains away from the team as well.

Washington dropped two of its three matchups against Boston one season ago despite Beal averaging 40.7 points in the season series. Tatum averaged 23 points per game for the Celtics across the three meetings.

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