Wizards-Celtics Preview

Rajon Rondo is showing few signs of slowing down, and he has the

Boston Celtics rolling. The Washington Wizards just want to get

John Wall back on the court.

In what could be the first meeting between two of the top young

point guards in the NBA, Rondo will try to help the Celtics

re-establish their success against the Wizards on Wednesday

night.

Boston (8-2) is atop the Eastern Conference due in part to

stellar play from Rondo, who leads the league with 15.1 assists per

game while adding 10.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.7 steals.

While Rondo, 24, is in his fifth season, Wall is trying to live

up to the hype of being the top pick in last summer’s draft. He

hasn’t disappointed thus far, leading the Wizards (3-6) with

averages of 18.1 points and 9.8 assists.

The 20-year-old Wall, though, is nursing a sprained left foot

that forced him to miss Tuesday’s 109-94 win over Toronto, but he

could be back after accompanying the team to Boston.

With Washington hoping to get its young star back, Rondo is

looking to build on another outstanding effort. He dished out 17

assists and scored 11 points in a 116-110 overtime win at Memphis

on Saturday, capping a 3-1 trip for the Celtics.

“Excellent trip,” said center Shaquille O’Neal, whose 18 points

were his season high. “We’re 8-2, and if we can go 8-2 out of every

10, I will be very happy … We should be 10-0, so we’re playing

well.”

The Celtics are 4-0 at home, winning the last two games there in

overtime.

Paul Pierce is also playing a major role in Boston’s success,

averaging a team-high 21.0 points. He is shooting 60.4 percent from

the field while scoring 25.7 points in his last three games. The

swingman matched a season high with 28 points on 9-for-13 shooting

Saturday.

Pierce was limited to nine points in a 106-96 home loss to

Washington in the most recent matchup April 9, ending the Celtics’

six-game winning streak in the series.

Rondo averaged 17.5 points and 10.5 assists in four meetings

with the Wizards last season.

This could be the first time Rondo and Wall find themselves on

the court together. However, if Wall’s injury remains a problem,

Washington would replace him with Gilbert Arenas again.

Arenas was impressive in his first start since his suspension

for bringing guns into the Verizon Center locker room, scoring 20

points with seven rebounds and six assists Tuesday. That

performance came three nights after he had a season-high 30 points

off the bench following Wall’s injury in a 103-96 loss at

Chicago.

“He’s starting to get his legs under him,” coach Flip Saunders

said. “He puts so much pressure on the other team knowing that they

have to guard him.”

Arenas is averaging 28.9 points over his last 11 meetings with

Boston, but has missed eight games in that span due to the

suspension and various injuries.

“It’s been almost four years since I’ve really played the game.

Just going out there playing means a lot to me – whether it’s

starting or coming off the bench,” Arenas said.

Boston is scheduled to have its own suspended guard back in

Delonte West. He served a 10-game ban stemming from an arrest on

weapons charges while playing for Cleveland.