Open thread: Regular season game 36

The essentials:
Wizards (19-15) at Celtics (30-5)
7:30 p.m.
TD Banknorth Garden
Comcast Sports Net

This year:
November 2: Celtics 103, Wizards 83
January 12: Wizards 85, Celtics 78

Notable Celtics numbers this season:
1st in expected winning percentage (.869).
24th in pace factor (89.0 possessions per game).
8th in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (110.8).
1st in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (96.8).

Key links
Green Bandwagon
Celtics Blog

Red's army
LOY's Place
Celtics 17
Celtics 247
Celtics Blog blog preview.
LOY's Place blog preview.
Celtics 17 blog preview.
Red's Army blog preview.
Celtics 24/7 blog preview.
Green Bandwagon blog preview.
Competition discussion: Boston.
A look into Haywood's consistency this season.
Capri Sun is running low in Boston.
How good is Gilbert at bowling?
Feel free to form your own opinions on this, but I think it's probably just a case of a reporter that's not familiar with Gilbert taking what he said out of context.  At least, I think that's what is going on.  He'll probably explain it in his next blog just like he always does when someone misinterprets what he says.

A few more recaps from Saturday's matchup:
Wizznutzz
Mister Irrelevant
The Bog
DCist
Ted's Take

Starting lineups:
Celtics
PG: Rajon Rondo/Tony Allen, depending on Rondo's health.
SG: Ray Allen.
SF: Paul Pierce.
PF: Kevin Garnett.
C: Kendrick Perkins.

Wizards
PG: Antonio Daniels.
SG: DeShawn Stevenson.
SF: Caron Butler.
PF: Antawn Jamison.
C: Brendan Haywood.

Tonight's lines:
Wizards at Celtics: Celtics by 11.5.
Over/Under on Big 2 scoring: 43.0 points.

New day, same opponent.  Rather than drilling the same points that have already been mentioned, I'm going to use the preview space to conduct a little Q&A with Jim, the writer behind the great Celtics blog Green Bandwagon, and get his thoughts on the team so far this season:

Bullets Forever: Doc Rivers has gotten a lot of flack over the last few years over his coaching, but you can't argue with the results that they've been putting up this season.  Is this a case of the team winning in spite of their coach or did Doc just not have enough to work with the last few years?

Green Bandwagon: I wouldn't say the Celtics are winning in spite of Rivers. It is important that the players like him and by all accounts he has done a great job this year getting everyone on the same page. To be fair the Celtics were not that talented over the last few years. And when that happens fans/bloggers tend to propose trades, call for the general manager's job and demand that the coach be fired. I was no exception, although I don't remember going after Rivers as strongly as others did. In hindsight the Celtics were painfully young and immature. That said why did it take so long for Ryan Gomes and Rajon Rondo to get playing time? And how are the Portland Trailblazers getting it done with such a young team? Ultimately Rivers is neither is good as he looks right now nor as bad as he did last season. And if it does not work out I don't see myself blaming Rivers.

Bullets Forever: In the off-season the Wizards originally hired Tom Thibodeau to improve the Wizards' defense before having a change of heart and heading for Boston.  How has Thibodeau been able to transform the Celtics into such a defensive juggernaut?

Green Bandwagon: Tom Thibodeau's track record speaks for itself. At a certain point it is not a coincidence that every team that hires him plays good defense. And there is a reason he asked for a one-year contract this year. People around the league are starting to take notice. At the same time it sure helps to have Kevin Garnett anchoring the defense and a group of players that buy in. Thibodeau's efforts are definitely helped by the positive environment the Celtics organization created through a few trades and free agent signings.

Bullets Forever: Everyone knows about the Big 3, but who in your mind is someone that deserves more credit for the Celtics' success this season?

Green Bandwagon: I'd say the crazy thing is that it depends on the night. Rajon Rondo, Kenrick Perkins, Glen Davis, Eddie House, James Posey and even Tony Allen have all had big games and moments. From a pure basketball stand point Rondo probably offers the most. He plays annoying defense, shoots well and can get to the rim. Meanwhile, Perkins saves KG from banging with other team's big men. That's important. And when House is feeling it he gives the team an offensive spark for stretches. But I really think Posey is more important than the stats show. He is a versatile defender, can hit the three, finishes well around the hoop and is a great presence. Did he go a bit overboard after the win in Detroit? Probably. But the other Celtics genuinely seem to like him and he knows how to play basketball. Watching Posey on a day-to-day basis reveals all of the little things he does to help a team win. Overall Boston's bench is better than people realize.

Many thanks to Jim for setting the Q&A up and his great responses to the questions.  The other half of the interview (where the roles are reversed) is right here.

This is an open thread, so if you want to figure out WHAT KEVIN GARNETT IS YELLING ABOUT!!!

This is the place to do it.  Also, the rumor is that the Slam Dunk contestants will be announced today, so keep an eye out on that throughout the day.  I know I will be.

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