The Wizards beat the Heat… still a bit shocking.
But it’s not all good news for the Wizards. In the third quarter of the game starting small forward Trevor Ariza went to the locker room with a calf injury. After the game he was seen in a walking boot.
Now comes word that he could be out up to three weeks with a strained calf, reports CSNWashington.com.
While Ariza has given the Wizards 8.1 points and 4.9 rebounds a game, he was never an efficient player and he took a step back this year. He is shooting just 34.9 percent overall and 25.6 percent from three. Or, look at it this way: He has needed 8.6 shots per game to get his 8.1 points.
With Ariza out that means more Martell Webster, and that could be good for offensive efficiency — he is shooting 41.9 percent from three. We’ll see how his defense goes with more minutes, but Ariza being out is not going to hurt much… until the Wizards go to their bench more.
Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.
The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.
Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:
Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.
Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.
Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.
It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:
it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.
That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.
Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.
Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.
I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.
This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.