The Boston Celtics will go for the sweep of a home-and-home series against the winless Washington Wizards tonight at TD Garden.
The Celtics toppled the Wizards, 89-86, in Washington on Saturday. It was the first victory of the season for the Celtics, who fell to the Miami Heat in the season-opener, then lost to the Bucks in Milwaukee.
The loss to the Bucks marked the first loss in a home opener for the Celtics since the 2006-07 season.
The problem for the Celtics so far in this new season has been consistency. Against the Wizards on Saturday, the Celtics held them to 12 first-quarter points. [ "I mean, the first seven or eight minutes, (the Wizards) struggled to get a shot off, let alone score a basket," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers after Monday's practice. "But then as the game went on you could see us slowly moving away from it."
The Celtics surrendered 30 points in the second stanza, but put the clamp down in the final frame. The Wizards only managed 19 points in the final quarter and new bench man Jason Terry explained what needs to happen, again, consistently for Boston to dominate.
"We have to play 48-minute basketball games, Celtics Basketball," said Terry. "Which means defensively setting the tempo, getting up into people, rebounding strong, being physical."
In the last two games, the Celtics averaged 88.5 ppg, although the individual numbers are decent. Four Celtics (Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass) average double figures and Rondo is at 12 assists per game.
The Wizards are just searching for a victory.
Hurt by the absence of their two best players (John Wall and Nene), Washington is averaging 85 ppg. First-round pick Bradley Beal, who went third overall, only has 10 points in two games and is shooting a sad 15 percent from the field.
"Bradley is playing with no rhythm to his game," said head coach Randy Wittman. "He's got to do other things. He can't go 21 minutes and have one rebound. It snowballs."
The silver lining in a winless start has been Washington's defense. They've only given up 91.5 ppg in two games and that is good for a tie for fifth in the league.
Another positive was the return of Kevin Seraphin to the lineup. He came back against the Celtics and scored 19 points off the bench.
"It felt great. I just came back," said Seraphin. "I just played hard, played my game on the rebound, on defense on everything."
Boston has won the last five meetings with Washington, including a sweep of last season's series (4-0). The Wizards have lost their last four trips to Beantown.