W2W4: Celtics vs. Wizards (Game 4 of 82)
* PREACHING PATIENCE: The Celtics are hoping to see progress on Wednesday, particularly after two solid days of practice, but the team cautions that growing pains are unlikely to disappear altogether. Boston's focus is on long-term development over immediate gains. "It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon," said rookie forward Jared Sullinger. "It’s going to take time and understanding of where we are coming from as a basketball team. We’re slowly working on that, and it’s not going to happen just yet, but give us until about midseason, we’re going to be pretty good." Celtics coach Doc Rivers was asked how long it will take for it all to come together. "There's no date," he said. "Every group is different. Because if one guy doesn't get it, it breaks the whole team down. So, just, every year, it's a different group, and there's no expiration date on anybody. It just takes time."
* SULLINGER STARTS, TAKE 2? Sullinger drew his first career start Saturday in the nation's capital and put together a solid outing. The expectation is he'll be back in the starting lineup Wednesday night with a chance to further entrench himself with the first unit. Maybe more importantly, it's another glimpse at whether shifting Brandon Bass to a reserve role can add a little firepower to a bench mob that has offered inconsistent production over the first three games.
* A 48-MINUTE EFFORT: The Celtics smothered Washington out of the gates on Saturday night, making it difficult for the Wizards to simply get up shots over the first nine minutes with improved defensive focus. That helped Boston build a double-digit cushion, but the Celtics couldn't sustain that intensity and Washington nearly rallied late to steal the game. Expect Rivers to put an emphasis on starting fast and keeping a foot on the accelerator. This is where Boston could use a boost from the bench, to prevent lulls and take some of the stress off the veteran Big Three of Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
* EYES ON WILCOX: After missing nearly all of training camp and the entire exhibition season, Chris Wilcox has been eased into the new season. He did play a season-high 7:42 against Washington on Saturday, but contributed nothing more than two fouls. Boston wants to see the Wilcox who was attacking the defensive glass and running the floor with Rondo before a heart ailment ended his season last year.
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