Celtics-Wizards Preview

The Associated Press

Better ball movement was a big reason why the Boston Celtics won all four meetings with the Washington Wizards last season.

The Celtics, however, are more concerned about their defense during their winless start to 2012-13.

They will try to avoid a second straight 0-3 start Saturday night as they look to spoil the Wizards' home opener.

Boston led the league in opponents' field-goal percentage at 41.9 a season ago. But the Celtics (0-2) allowed Miami to hit 54.4 percent of its shots in a 120-107 loss in their opener and Milwaukee to shoot 46.5 percent in Friday's 99-88 defeat in their first home game.

"It starts and ends with our defense," Rajon Rondo said. "I'm the point guard. I'm the first line of defense and initiate the offense. I've got to be better."

The Celtics could be facing the right opponent since they had 100 assists in last season's four meetings with Washington (0-1), which had just 58 while shooting 17.9 percent on 3-pointers.

Wizards point guard John Wall averaged a team-high 17.3 points and 8.0 assists in those games, but he remains out with a knee injury.

Both teams feature new shooting guards. Courtney Lee has replaced the departed Ray Allen for Boston while rookie Bradley Beal starts for Washington.

Beal, the third overall pick out of Florida, made 2 of 8 shots and scored eight points in his debut in a 94-84 loss Tuesday at Cleveland. He's eager to make his home debut.

"I'm real excited," Beal said. "My family is going to be here on top of that and actually this is my town now, this is my city so to speak so now I'm going to be able to represent and show what I am capable of doing."

The Wizards have had three straight days of practice, and Beal has been studying what the Celtics' perimeter players can do.

"Jason Terry can shoot the ball, all these guys have the green light to shoot the ball and basically do whatever they want to do," Beal said. "Rondo's real crafty with the ball, Courtney Lee can shoot the ball and he can slash to the basket as well."

Terry came over from Dallas and Lee from Houston, so it may take some time for the Celtics to gel.

"We have a lot of new people, a lot of guys trying to get adjusted," Terry said. "It's going to take a while, but to get outworked is definitely unacceptable."

Washington shot 35.6 percent in its opener and was led by Jordan Crawford's 11 points. The Wizards didn't resemble the team that shot 48.1 percent during its six-game win streak to close 2011-12.

"I thought our pace was up and down in Cleveland," coach Randy Wittman said. "When it was up, we were pretty good. When we walked and walked the ball up to play five on five, it was a little hard especially with the injuries we have."

One of those injured players, French forward Kevin Seraphin, could make his season debut after missing Tuesday's game due to a calf problem.

This is the front end of an unusual home-and-home set between these clubs, with the second game Wednesday in Boston.

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