Celtics spent ‘big part’ of film on Harrell ahead of rematch

Wizards forward Montrezl Harrell pulls a rebound away from the Celtics' Jaylen Brown

Montrezl Harrell put together one of his best performances of the young season against the Boston Celtics this week, and it’s one head coach Ime Udoka is hoping to prevent from happening again when they get a rematch with the Wizards on Saturday night.

The veteran big man has emerged as a menace for Washington (4-1) in his first season with the team after being traded by the Los Angeles Lakers last offseason. Through five games, he’s averaging 19.2 points and 9.4 rebounds per contest. The Wizards have leaned on him even more the last two games while center Daniel Gafford has nursed a quad contusion.

One of those games was Wednesday’s matchup with the Celtics (2-3) at TD Garden. After Gafford exited in the first quarter, Harrell ended up logging a team-high 38 minutes off the bench as the Wizards pulled away with a 116-107 victory. In Boston’s film session Friday, Udoka made sure the Celtics didn’t gloss over Harrell’s impact.

“That’s how he’s built his reputation,” Udoka said. “He’s an extremely hard player, but he’s a monster on the glass so he was a big part of our film today with the effort and [our] lack of rebounding and just can’t let him impact the game the way he does. It wasn’t just us. I told the team he had 25 and 11 against us, 25 and 13 last night.


“He’s playing more with Gafford being out so he’s a guy we’ll have to account for and a lot of the clips were just him being more physical, being more aggressive and us not hitting him or not double-teaming him off the glass…We worked on some things today and I pointed out in the film today so it’s something that’s not unexpected and not caught off guard by it but you just have to match his intensity and bring the physicality back to him.”

The Celtics will counter against Harrell and forward Kyle Kuzma with a frontcourt tandem of Al Horford and Robert Williams III. After Washington outscored Boston 58-50 in the paint and pulled down 10 more rebounds in their first matchup, the pressure will be on Udoka’s big men to disrupt Harrell’s game Saturday night.