The Wizards play their final home game of the year tonight, and they catch a bit of a break. In a clear sign that they have given up pursuit for the No. 2 seed, the Boston Celtics will be resting all their key players tonight, Doc Rivers said. Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett are all out, and Paul Pierce is likely out as well. The Celtics will start Delonte West, Von Wafer, Jeff Green, Glen Davis and Jermaine O'Neal.
"With the way we're playing right now, I think we do need [the rest]," Rivers said. "So we're going to take it. We don't have a lot of time."
Rivers said this gives the Celtics' veterans a whole week to rest for the playoffs, which will likely begin Sunday for them.
As for the Wizards, the usual suspects will play, and Hamady N'Diaye will join them, Flip Saunders said. Saunders said the key to victory tonight will be to limit turnovers and prevent the Celtics from getting out in the open floor. Indeed, one of the keys to the Celtics' win on their board in their locker room was to control tempo. One key was to push the Wizards' big men under the basket on defensive rebounds, and another was to drop back the shooting guard and small forward in transition on offensive rebounds.
Saunders talked a lot about the three D-League players before the game and what each has brought to the team. I'll try to provide a full transcript later, but one thing he mentioned is how good organizations like the Spurs always leave no stones unturned when looking for talented players. He praised Ernie Grunfeld and the rest of the management team for finding D-League guys that he dubbed "good fits." I asked him whether there was a philosophical change with regard to the D-League, since the Wizards rarely used it before last season, and Saunders said that it wasn't that as much as finding guys who were better fits.