Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wizards Hit the Home Stretch

Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards
Tonight, April 9 - 7pm
Verizon Center

After three much-needed days of rest, the Wizards are back in action tonight when they take on the Boston Celtics at the Phone Booth. Antawn Jamison is expected to return after missing two games with a sprained right shoulder and Gilbert Arenas will be back on the floor after sitting out Saturday's win over Chicago as a precautionary measure.

Washington (40-37) currently sits in 5th place in the Eastern Conference playoff race, has a one-game lead on Philadelphia and trails Cleveland by two games for home-court advantage in the first round. It's crunch time for the Wiz as they take on some of the East's best over their final five contests. Yet, with Boston, Detroit and Orlando locked into the first three spots, they will likely be giving some of their starters a rest over the last week and a half of the season, giving Washington an opportunity to possibly overtake the struggling Cavs.

Most importantly, Eddie Jordan will be toying with his lineups to figure out how Agent Zero best fits into the rotation. Having an All-Star with 20+ ppg potential coming off the bench is a luxury most coaches in the East don't have. So finally, after enduring countless injuries to key contributors all season, the Wizards might actually have an edge in the personal department when it matters most.

The Celts (62-15) come into D.C. having won seven straight, but lately they've been giving the bulk of the playing time to their bench. In their 107-104 overtime win last night against the Bucks, none of the Big Three played more than 22 minutes. Doc Rivers has the right idea, resting his stars and giving his role players a chance to build some confidence heading into the post-season, but don't forget, the Wiz knocked off Boston in back-to-back games with the Big Three on the floor earlier this season and with a healthy Big Three for Eddie Jordan, they should be able to handle the C's tonight.

-- The Tar Heel

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