BOSTON — It's rare that the third game of an 82-game season is labeled as a "must-win," but Wizards forward Martell Webster is calling Wednesday's game against the Boston Celtics just that.
"It's a must-win for us, as is any game," Webster said. "When you can get a win against some of the top teams in the league, you just ride that confidence. We're not saying we're going to go in there and blow these guys out, but we need to go in with the mindset that we must win this game, and we must be aggressive on both ends of the court."
When the two teams played Saturday in the Wizards' home opener, the Celtics went on a 17-2 run to open the game. It took a surge by Washington's second unit to make the final score a respectable 89-86.
"We have to come out and set the tempo and establish the game play in the first five minutes of the first quarter and the first five minutes of the third quarter," said Webster, who went 1 for 6 with four points, four rebounds and four assists in 25 minutes.
"Also, I'm not going to stop harping on the fact that we had a lot of good open shots in those first five minutes [against the Celtics] and if we knock down, you know, 50 percent of those, it's a different score," Webster said.
A strong start will be key as the 0-2 Wizards look for their first win. For coach Randy Wittman, it's a simple plan.
"Playing with confidence, taking care of the ball, execution," Wittman said. "I think that would be the three things that we have to really do a better job with. Getting the shots that we want and stopping them on defense at the other end."
The Wizards will rely heavily on third-year center Kevin Seraphin to play well against future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett and hope shooting guard Jordan Crawford is available. On Saturday, Seraphin scored 19 points and Crawford had 21, but Crawford is a game-time decision for Wednesday with a sprained left ankle, putting even more of the load on Seraphin's 6-foot-10 shoulders.
"Garnett is the best competitor I've ever been around," said Wittman, who worked with Garnett from 1995 through 1999 when he was an assistant with the Minnesota Timberwolves. "He's going to try to eliminate that part of Seraphin's [offense], but Kevin's just got to do what he does and things will be fine."
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