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Boston Celtics vs. Washington Wizards: Regular Season Game 20 Open Thread

UPDATE: We apologize for the technical difficulties. Things should be running smoothly now. -Mike

The Essentials:

Celtics (17-4) at Wizards (7-12)
8 p.m.
Verizon Center
Radio: 106.7 The Fan

Notable Celtics numbers this season

1st in expected winning percentage (.800)
25th in pace (90.9 possessions per game)
8th in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (109.4)
1st in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (90)

Pre-game links

Celtics Blog, SB Nation's Boston Celtics blog
Celtics Hub
Red's Army, a Celtics blog
LOY's Place, a Celtics blog
Hardwood Houdini
Boston Globe Celtics blog
Celtics Insider, Boston Herald
Our podcast with Celtics Blog's JimmyT
GameDay Detroit

Tonight's Projected Starters
Celtics vs. Wizards
Rajon Rondo
PG Gilbert Arenas
Ray Allen
SG Nick Young
Paul Pierce
SF Caron Butler
Kevin Garnett
PF Antawn Jamison
Kendrick Perkins
C Brendan Haywood

To repeat the overused Kevin Garnett mantra, anything is possible tonight. Pigs could come flying from the sky. Michael Ruffin could join the Celtics, throw the ball up in the air with two seconds left right to Gilbert Arenas for Arenas it hit a game-winning three.

What's most likely though? The Wizards will lose. Boston is among the best teams in the NBA right now (I'd argue the very best), and they're playing extremely well. They've won eight in a row after a slight mid-November swoon, and many of those wins have come on the road. They're coming off a ho-hum win over Milwaukee at home, but they recently dismantled the Thunder in Oklahoma City. They're good.

And they're everything the Wizards haven't been this year. They control the tempo. They're disciplined on offense. They get exactly the shots they want. They're consistently outstanding on defense. They score inside and outside. In other words, they're the anti-Wizards, at least right now.

The Wizards' best chance is to push the tempo and make this an up-and-down game, but that would require a transformation in the way Gilbert Arenas plays. He has been allergic to pushing the ball, and Flip Saunders has said he wants Arenas to push. Both need to follow through tonight for the Wizards to have any chance.

I'll be there in Section 104, hoping I'm wrong, but I wouldn't be surprised if this got ugly. Prove me wrong, Wizards!