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News » Celtics-Wizards Preview 2008-12-10


Celtics-Wizards Preview 2008-12-10


Celtics-Wizards Preview 2008-12-10
The Boston Celtics have won 12 straight games, but that's been done before in the franchise's decorated history. On Thursday, they can do something that hasn't.

A win over the Eastern Conference-worst Washington Wizards would make the Celtics 21-2 for the first time, and would mark a ninth consecutive road victory as they visit an arena where they lost twice last season.

After the Celtics lost their third game this season and two of their first 10, it seemed unlikely they'd match their stellar start to last season, when they opened 29-3 en route to the franchise's 17th NBA title.

But a dozen straight victories have propelled them to their third 20-2 start, equaling last season's pace through 22 games. That team lost 87-85 to Detroit in its 23rd game.

"At the end of the day, our record's going to be what it is," Paul Pierce said, "but we just want to concentrate on continuing to get better, and that's about it. We never come into the season saying this is our goal to win this many games or break any records."

Still, the Celtics kept alive their longest winning streak since a 14-game run during the 1985-86 season with a 122-117 overtime win at Indiana on Sunday.

Pierce hit the tying 3-pointer with 7.5 seconds left in regulation, but Ray Allen stole the spotlight for much of the game, scoring seven of his season-high 35 points in overtime and finishing 7-of-12 from 3-point range.

Even though the Pacers shot 50.6 percent from the floor - the highest allowed this season by Boston's vaunted defense - the Celtics avenged their lone road loss of the season. The defensive effort was an aberration for Boston, which had been averaging 84.8 points allowed in the previous five contests.

"The record doesn't make us any better from one night to the next," said Allen, who's shooting 50.0 percent from the floor and leads Boston with 19.2 points per game. "You just have to continue to beat that team regardless of their record because we could have easily been sitting here with a loss against Indiana the other night and they're not one of the top two or three best teams record-wise in the East."

The Wizards (4-15) are the worst, even after they snapped a three-game losing streak with a 107-94 win over Detroit on Tuesday.

Washington trailed the Pistons by 17 points in the second quarter at home, but surged back behind 33 points from Caron Butler and a strong effort from its bench, including 16 points and seven assists by Juan Dixon.

"I just walked down and said 'We're better than we're playing,'" Wizards coach Ed Tapscott said. "... When we play with energy, we move the ball, all of a sudden we look like a different team."

Overall, the Wizards certainly look like a different team than they were last season, when they went 43-39 and qualified for their fourth straight postseason.

They also were one of just two teams to win their season series against the Celtics, taking three of four meetings. That included a pair of victories at the Verizon Center, where the Celtics have lost four in a row since a 116-115 overtime win on March 7, 2006.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 10, 2008

 

 
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