Wednesday, November 17 7:30 PM ET
Game #11, Road Game #5
TV: CSNNE, Comcast Sportsnet, NBA-LP 752/753; Radio: WEEI, WJFK
Referees: Ken Mauer, Kane Fitzgerald, Courtney Kirkland
The Celtics return home after a tough but successful road trip hoping to keep their unbeaten streak at the Garden intact. The story of this game will be the long awaited debut of Delonte West. Hopefully he fits in with the bench seamlessly and gives the team a boost on both ends of the court. In the long run, his presence should give both Ray and Rondo a little more rest.
John Wall, the first pick in last year's draft is leading all rookies in scoring and assists He also is first in the league in steals. But he has been inconsistent. In 2 losses to Cleveland and NY, he had 15 turnovers and just 9 field goals but in a win over Houston he put up 19 points, 13 assists, 6 steals and just 1 turnover. He missed last night's game against the Raptors but did travel with the team to Boston and will likely be a game time decision for tonight's game. In his absence, Gilbert Arenas got the start and scored 20 points with seven rebounds and six assists.
On the Celtics side, Marquis Daniels has been away from the team due to a family situation and is questionable for this game. Doc has mentioned that we might see some Delonte at small forward and more than likely we'll see Pierce play more minutes if Quisy isn't available.
The Celtics have had 3 days off after their road trip and should be rested and raring to go. The Wizards are playing in the second of back to back games, having hosted the Raptors the night before. The Celtics are 4-0 at home while the Wizards are 0-4 on the road. This should be an easy win, but it could just as easily be a trap game if they don't take the Wizards seriously and come to play.
PG: Rajon Rondo 10.8 PPG, 15.1 APG, 2.7 SPG
SG: Ray Allen 18.8 PPG, 2.4 APG, .459 3P%
SF: Paul Pierce 21.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.8 APG
PF: Kevin Garnett 15.4 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 0.6 BPG
C: Shaquille O'Neal 9.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 0.4 BPG
Boston Bench Mob
Kendrick Perkins (knee) out
Jermaine O'Neal (knee) out
Marquis Daniels (family matter) questionable
PG: John Wall 18.1 PPG, 9.8 APG, 3.3 SPG
SG: Kirk Hinrich 11.0 PPG, 4.6 APG, .406 3P%
SF: Al Thornton 13.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.1 APG
PF: Andre Blatche 16.4 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 0.3 BPG
C: JaVale McGee 7.5 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 2.9 BPG
John Wall (foot) questionable
Yi Jianlian (Knee) questionable
Josh Howard (knee) out
Rajon Rondo vs John Wall
This matchup may or may not come to fruition. Wall injured his foot in a game on Saturday and is questionable for this game. Wall leads all rookies in scoring and assists and tops the league in steals. He also leads the NBA in turnovers. I'm hoping he plays as this will be a great matchup.
Ray Allen has been on a roll recently but he faces a good defender in Kirk Hinrich. The question will be whether Hinrich feels like chasing Ray around all the screens to keep him from getting open. Hopefully Ray will continue his strong shooting in this one.
This is finally Delonte's first game back in green. Assuming that Wall is able to start, Delonte will be playing against Gilbert Arenas and this should be an interesting matchup. If Wall isn't able to go, we will see Rondo matched up with Arenas and Delonte will have a much easier time in his first game.
Keys to the Game
Play 48 Minutes After 3 days off, they may be a bit rusty, but they have to come out ready to play. If they come out and play hard, they could very well build a big lead. They must stop giving up big leads in the 4th quarter and not get complacent once they get a lead.
Take Care of the Ball The Celtics have been doing better in limiting turnovers and they have to keep that up.
Defense The Celtics need to get back to making defense their top priority. Defense always wins games and it will win the championship as well.
Rebound The Celtics must crash the boards to limit the Wizards fast breaks and second chance points.
The team was originally called the Bullets because of Baltimore's original NBA team that played in an Armory. In 1996 owner Abe Pollin decided to change it due to a number of recent high profile shooting deaths. The name Wizards was chosen over other finalists like Dragon, Express, Seadogs and Stallions in various focus groups.
I should mention the irony of Delonte coming back from his suspension for gun possession against a team formerly called the Bullets. And against a team who last year had not one, but 2 players suspended for gun play in the locker room.
Will it have a positive effect on the team, a negative effect on the team, or no visible effect? I expect his return to give the team a boost.