It's been a rough few days for the Celtics, who have gone up against three NBA heavyweights in four days and lost to all three. They've hit the road and lost; they've returned home and lost some more. Now, they're back on the road again.
Next up is a meeting with the Washington Wizards, which will be the C's first look at the Wiz since the Gilbert Arenas scandal took its toll on the franchise last month. After a grueling week, it's time for an easier matchup for a Celtics team that could really use one.
Monday, Jan. 1, 7 p.m. ET (CSNE)
Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
Celtics (29-16, first place in Atlantic Division, fourth place in Eastern Conference)
Wizards (16-30, fifth place in Southeast Division, 11th place in Eastern Conference)
This is the second of four meetings between the Celtics and Wizards this season. The C's won the first, surviving a late charge and winning 104-102 at the Verizon Center with all five starters scoring in double figures. The C's also dominated the Wiz last season, winning all three of their head-to-head meetings, including a particularly lopsided 122-88 win back in December 2008. This matchup has been all Boston in recent years.
This is a whole different franchise since the downfall of its franchise player, Gilbert Arenas. With Agent Zero out for the season by commissioner's orders, the Wizards have lost their most potent scoring threat, lost their personality and lost their identity. It's time for the Wiz to start disassembling this team, selling it for parts — they could probably turn Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison into a heck of a lot of pieces to rebuild around. Now's the time to start anew.
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Kendrick Perkins
Point guard: Randy Foye
Shooting guard: Mike Miller
Small forward: Caron Butler
Power forward: Antawn Jamison
Center: Brendan Haywood
The Celtics have lost six of their last eight games.
They are shooting 74.6 percent from the free-throw line, just a touch under league average.
Kendrick Perkins is shooting an NBA-best 63.1 percent.
Paul Pierce is an NBA-best 46.8 percent from 3-point range.
Rajon Rondo averaged 9.6 assists per game in January.
Kevin Garnett has shot 23-for-49 in five games since his return from a hyperextended right knee.
Ray Allen is 1-for-10 from 3-point range in his last two games.
The Wizards are 9-15 at home this season.
They have only 846 total assists, third-fewest of any NBA team behind the Pistons and Nets.
With Arenas suspended, Antawn Jamison is the Wizards' leading scorer with 21.5 points per game.
Randy Foye is shooting 93.3 percent from the free-throw line, second-best in the NBA.
Brendan Haywood ranks fourth in the league with 93 blocks.
Mike Miller had 25 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in the Wizards' win over the Knicks on Saturday. He has 40 rebounds in his last five games.
Caron Butler is shooting 42.0 percent this season, his worst average in six years.
Marquis Daniels has been out since Dec. 4 with a thumb injury. He is nearing a return.
Mike Miller missed two months of the season with a strained right calf. He is now back in action.
In 1998, Antoine Walker leads the Celtics to victory over the Houston Rockets at the FleetCenter, piling up 27 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists as the Celtics win 107-96. It is the third triple-double of Walker's career.
"I thought we tried to hold onto the game. What disappointed me about that is that I told our guys, we can’t be surprised to be up. We should have been up, and we should have been up more. So that was tough."
–Celtics coach Doc Rivers, in Monday's Boston Herald, on the Celtics' failure to hold onto a lead against the Lakers on Sunday afternoon
The Celtics threw the game away against L.A.
Kobe Bryant sank the game-winner.
The C's are too good to be this bad.
Mike Miller went off in the Wizards' win over the Knicks.
Washington is stuck with Gilbert Arenas.
Larry Hughes says "he'll be back."
Kevin Durant exploded against the Warriors.
Chris Paul needs surgery.
LeBron James dazzled the Clippers.
The Celtics have had a rough week, but the losing ends now — they're finally done with the nightmarish stretch of elite NBA competition, and they've got a game they can win. If they keep Jamison and Haywood off the glass, the C's can dominate on Monday night. And after an awful showing over the past few days, they could really use a win to establish some forward momentum. If they want to start winning again, the Celtics have to start the ball rolling now.
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