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Wizards vs. Celtics: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Wizards vs. Celtics: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

The Washington Wizards look to improve their 1-5 record on Wednesday night with the Boston Celtics in town. Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…

WASHINGTON WIZARDS vs. BOSTON CELTICS

Where: Verizon Center
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: CSN (coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.)
Live stream: CSNmidatlantic.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Wall vs. Thomas

Wednesday night will feature an intriguing matchup at point guard with John Wall facing off with fellow All-Star Isaiah Thomas of the Celtics. Wall is off to a strong start this season, averaging 21.8 points, 9.6 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game. Thomas is also playing well early this year with 26.2 points and 6.8 assists per game. 

In talking to Wizards head coach Scott Brooks this week, one thing stood out about Thomas in particular. Brooks is amazed by Thomas' ability to get off shots at his size (he's listed at 5-foot-9): "He's as tough and quick and as aggressive as any point guard in this league. He's an All-Star for a reason because he brings it every night. He puts a lot of pressure on the defense. He attacks and he plays down-hill a lot. He has such a great release. He has a release, for being a little guy, that you can't get to it. He doesn't get his shot blocked often."

Here is what Wall said about Thomas at Wednesday's shootaround:

"He’s always been the same player. He’s always been good. I think he’s with a team now that lets him play his game. He’s the main threat. He’s making shots and plays for everybody else. The team is going to go as far as you let him. He’s done a great job leading them guys.”

[RELATED: Wizards' most frequent mistakes to put them at 1-5]

4th quarter defense

Ask Wizards players and coach Brooks what has plagued them most through their 1-5 start and many will point to their fourth quarter defense. Many of their losses have been in winnable games that they let slip through their fingers in the final minutes. No team in basketball has allowed a higher opponent's field goal percentage in the fourth quarter than the Wizards (53.6%) this season.

The Wizards have also been very poor at shooting in the fourth quarter, with a 38.2 field goal percentage, fifth-worst in the league. The Celtics, conversely, are very good in the fourth quarter with the second-best shooting percentage (49.6).

Horford, Crowder out

The Wizards will not see the Boston Celtics at full strength as both Al Horford and Jae Crowder will sit out due to injuries. Horford is a perennial All-Star and joined the Celtics after there was mutual interest between him and the Wizards this past summer in free agency. Crowder played a lot of minutes for the 48-win Celtics last season and is a difficult matchup with his athleticism and strength at the small forward position.

We'll see if the Wizards can take advantage of an injury-hampered team. They were not able to do that in Memphis two weekends ago.

[RELATED: Wall setting Wizards franchise record dampened by loss]

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After getting little rest during All-Star break, Bradley Beal aims to be smart in second half

After getting little rest during All-Star break, Bradley Beal aims to be smart in second half

If anyone on the Wizards deserves some time off to rest it's Bradley Beal, who currently ranks fifth in the NBA in total minutes played. While his teammates were off on vacation, many of them at relaxing beaches far away, Beal was making appearance after appearance in Los Angeles as part of All-Star weekend.

The one drawback of Beal being selected as an All-Star and a contestant in the three-point contest was that he got little rest in the past week. He only made it one round in the three-point contest and played 16 minutes in the All-Star Game, but all of it was enough to soak up much of the free time he's used to getting this time of the year.

"Not as much as I needed to," Beal said when asked if he got any rest over the break. "I guess that's one of the downfalls of being an All-Star."

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

The workload has really added up for Beal. He leads the Wizards in minutes (36.4/g) and is one of two players on the team who hasn't missed a game all season.

Beal did have Monday and Tuesday off, but that was after a crosscountry flight and a whirlwind of a weekend. He called the media and sponsorship appearances "overwhelming." Many All-Stars have been there before and know what to expect, but Beal was a first-time participant.

Beal and the Wizards will be given no breaks with their upcoming schedule. They have four back-to-back sets in the next three weeks and begin with a stretch of five games in seven days. Those games will feature the Cavs, Warriors, Bucks, Sixers and the Hornets. Charlotte is the only team of that bunch currently out of the playoff picture, but they have already beaten the Wizards twice this season.

RELATED: 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT HAS LOADED CLASS

For Beal, it will be extra important to get any rest that he can.

"I will definitely be smart," he said. "I just gotta take care of my body. Listen to my body."

Beal says getting treatment from the Wizards' training staff in between games will be crucial. He also hopes to not over-exert himself in games by trusting his teammates and not trying to carry the load with John Wall out.

Though Beal may be tired from the weekend, he came out of it feeling pretty good about how he represented himself and the Wizards on the All-Star stage. He scored 14 points in 16 minutes in a game featuring the best players on the planet.

Beal now wants to make it an annual thing.

"I defintiely think it can push you more down the line. For me, it's just motivation to continue geting better," he said.

RELATED: WIZARDS HAVE BIG QUESTIONS TO ANSWER IN SECOND HALF

 

 

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Scott Brooks preparing Wizards for much tougher road ahead

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USA Today Sports Images

Scott Brooks preparing Wizards for much tougher road ahead

The Wizards entered the All-Star break having won seven of their previous nine games since John Wall went down with an injury, so a natural question to head coach Scott Brooks looking ahead to their first game back on Thursday was how he and his team can keep that momentum going in the second half.

Brooks immediately pointed to the Wizards' schedule, which gets notably more difficult in the coming weeks. They have a stretch of games over the next month-plus that features the best teams in basketball and Brooks knows that will be a big factor in whether they can sustain what they have going.

"Definitely the schedule gets tougher," Brooks said. "We've got a lot of good teams coming up starting with the first one in Cleveland. It's five games in seven nights against really good teams."

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

In the next five weeks, the Wizards will play 15 of 17 games against teams currently holding playoff spots. That includes the Cavaliers, Warriors, Celtics, Spurs (twice), Raptors and Timberwolves. 

That will represent a marked shift for the Wizards, who to this point have the weakest strength of schedule. Though they boast impressive wins over the Celtics, Rockets, Raptors and Timberwolves, they are about to play teams of that caliber more frequently with few nights off to rest. They have four back-to-back sets all in the next three weeks.

The upcoming stretch has been on the Wizards' minds for a while. Several players referenced their tough schedule before the All-Star break, knowing those wins leading up to the time off could prove extra important in hindsight.

The Wizards return to action on Thursday night against the Cavaliers, a team that has already beaten them twice. Both of those games were against the old version of the Cavs before they traded much of their roster at the deadline.

RELATED: WIZARDS HAVE BIG QUESTIONS TO ANSWER IN SECOND HALF

Gone are Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Isaiah Thomas, Iman Shumpert, Jae Crowder and Channing Frye. But they still have that guy LeBron James.

"Shoot, they looked good the other time, right? They beat us twice with the other group," Brooks noted. "LeBron is going to go down as one of the best ever. They are younger and more athletic. They're a good team and they still have an All-Star in [Kevin] Love who hasn't played because he's hurt."

The Cavs haven't lost in three games since the All-Star break and that includes road wins over the Celtics and Thunder. They look rejuvenated and, at least so far, improved from the aging, incongruent roster they had just weeks ago.

The Wizards have also been playing better lately, of course, and this upcoming stretch will be a major test for them. Wall has been out three weeks since he had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. He is likely to miss another three-to-five weeks. The Wizards will have to get through this without him.

If they can remain competitive and even beat some of these elite teams, they will only gain more confidence in their potential. That's the way Brooks plans to approach the schedule.

"We still want to be a better team when John comes back," Brooks said. "But the schedule definitely gets a lot tougher."

RELATED: 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT HAS LOADED CLASS