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Wizards at Celtics preview: Two playoff rivals meet for a Christmas Day clash

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NBA: Boston Celtics at New York Knicks Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Wizards will play the Celtics on Christmas Day. Here’s a preview.

Where and When

TD Garden in Boston at 5:30 p.m. ET. You can watch the game on ABC. In the D.C. area, that’s WJLA-TV (Channel 7). The game can also be streamed on ESPN.com.

If you live outside the United States, it is at 10:30 p.m. if you live in the United Kingdom and 11:30 p.m. for most of western and central Europe.

If you live in The Philippines, you can watch this game at 6:30 a.m. on December 26. Many of you may have this day off as the second day of Christmas, so wake up early, but it’s too root for your favorite team!

Odds?

The Celtics have a 71 percent chance of winning this game according to Five Thirty Eight.

Injuries

For the Celtics, Marcus Morris is likely out due to a knee injury, while Gordon Hayward is likely out for the rest of the season due to his season opening ankle injury.

Storylines

The rivalry resumes for Wizards fans - These two teams last met in the second round of the 2017 NBA playoffs. The Wizards lost in a seven game series and look to get even today.

The Wizards’ roster, and their starters are all back. But for the Celtics, several key players from their 2017 Eastern Conference Finals team, including Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crwoder, and Kelly Olynyk now play for other teams. So, this game isn’t going to have the bad blood that we saw at times last May.

Wall vs. Kyrie ... again - The 2017 NBA offseason was more dramatic than originally anticipated, because John Wall’s rival, Kyrie Irving demanded a trade from the Cavaliers and ultimately e

Kyrie’s having a big year, while Wall isn’t - When Hayward was injured in the first game of the season, many believed that that was the end of the Celtics’ hopes to win the Eastern Conference. It also opened up the door for the Wizards to ... be the number one seed.

But then, #SoWizards happened.

For the Celtics, they did lose two straight games to start the year, but they followed that up with a 16-game win streak with Irving showing the world that he can be a franchise player of an Eastern Conference contender without a key teammate.

Furthermore, Irving is averaging career highs in shooting percentage, where he is shooting nearly 50 percent from the field. Meanwhile, Al Horford is having another stellar year as point center, while Jaylen Brown is enjoying a breakout sophomore season. Boston is 27-9 where they lead the Eastern Conference.

As for the Wizards, they started 3-0, but ended up playing .500 ball in their next 30 games, where they’re just 18-15 heading into this game. Many of those losses came against teams that the Wizards should have beat, at least on paper, like the Lakers, Suns, Hornets, and the Nets (twice).

Wall’s shooting and free throw efficiency has dropped considerably, and his assist numbers have also gone down despite having a 28.9 percent usage rating. He’s even missed two weeks to attend to a knee injury. Sure, the Wizards weren’t horrible while Wall was out, but the Wizards have just underwhelmed this season so far when you look at the standings.

That said, the Celtics are cooling off a little - The Celtics only won five of their last 10 games, where they lost games to the Bulls on the road, as well as the Heat and Knicks in a back to back this past week. They are 8-5 this month, just like the Wizards.

For the Wizards, Sheldon Mac is out, effectively for the season with an Achilles injury.

An important moment in Wizards vs. Celtics history

This is an easy one. John Wall made the biggest play in Wizards history since 1979.