The Celtics kick off a tough four games in five nights stretch tonight in Washington. Tonight’s game will have an extra edge to it, as these two teams ended their last meeting on a bad note. There was a lot of trash talk on the court, then a nose poke and gentle slap exchange by Crowder and Wall. After which, security was placed in between the two locker rooms to avoid further potential altercations.

Washington is dressing for a funeral

In a display of thuggery and confidence, the Wizards are going to be wearing all black as they make their way into the arena tonight.

The Wizards plan to wear funeral attire to their game against the Celtics tonight. This beef might never end.

– Jay King (@ByJayKing) January 24, 2017

This isn’t the first time a team decided to wear all black prior to playing the Celtics as an act of symbolism. The Knicks wore funeral attire back 2013, symbolizing the demise of the celtics.The difference between that game and tonight’s game is that this is a regular season game. The Knicks game was a potential closeout game in the playoffs, where the Knicks were up 3-1 in the series. At least there was a little logic for the Knicks, while the Wizards come across as being unable to understand the term context’.

The NBA assigned a veteran officiating crew for tonight’s game

Basketball games are always a little better to watch when teams don’t like each other. Still, there are lines that can’t be crossed, so the officials for tonight’s game will have to make sure they don’t let this one get out of control. The three officials for tonight’s game are Marc Davis, Ron Garretson, and Gediminas Petraitis. Davis is in his 20th season, and Garretson is in his 31 season as officials.

Petraitis is only in his second season, so this will be a potential learning experience for him tonight. Also, I am pretty sure that Gediminas Petraitis is a spell from Harry Potter, so that may come in handy at some point. Petraitis actually scares me a little in this game, as he attended college in Maryland. He’s also had some poor performances officiating Celtics games this season. Hopefully the young ref lets the vets do most of the work.

Stick to basketball

Everybody reacts differently to getting ticked off. Some players are really good at channeling that energy to the game, while others get overly distracted and preform poorly as a result. The Celtics need to make sure they channel their energy to the game, and beat the crap out of them on the scoreboard. Bruises will eventually go away, but that scoreboard will never change.

The ceiling is getting lower and the floor is getting higher

With the Celtics playing four games in five nights, the Eastern conference standings can change between now and Sunday. Both Cleveland and Toronto have struggled recently, while Atlanta and Washington have played well. Boston has had several opportunities to climb towards the top in the East, but haven’t capitalized. Tonight will be another opportunity to close in on Toronto and Cleveland while creating a little more separation from Washington.

Controlling the basketball

The Celtics averaged 12 turnovers per game in their last two losses to New York and Portland. That’s not a bad number of turnovers. But, they only had 3 turnover against New York, and a whopping 21 turnovers against Portland. In those two games Boston was out-rebounded 94-80, which isn’t great. But, they actually out-rebounded Portland 47-37 in the OT loss. Those are two games where the Celtics lost two major battles in two completely different aspects of the game. Interestingly, Boston shot the same amount of shots as their opponent in both games. If the Celtics can keep the turnovers down, and do an OK job rebounding, then they should get more shots, and their chances of winning will increase.