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ATHENS, Ohio (AP) — Ben Roderick and Ben Vander Plas scored 17 points apiece as Ohio defeated Akron 90-73 on Tuesday.

Mark Sears and Miles Brown each added 12 points for the Bobcats (12-6, 8-4 Mid-American Conference). Lunden McDay chipped in 10 points, Vander Plas also had nine rebounds and Sears posted nine assists and seven rebounds.

Loren Cristian Jackson had 22 points and seven rebounds for the Zips (14-5, 12-4), whose four-game winning streak ended with the loss. Enrique Freeman added three blocks.

The Bobcats leveled the season series against the Zips. Akron defeated Ohio 90-70 on Dec. 22.

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Celtics Seek Revenge in Steamy Rematch With NBAs Hottest Team

Getty Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards breaks starts the break against the Celtics

The last time the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards met was February 14, Valentine’s Day. As husbands and boyfriends, girlfriends and wives scrambled to find gifts for their beloved, the Celtics, entering as losers of six of their last nine, were hoping a win over lovelorn Washington would help rekindle the spark in their season.

And though one team did find love that day, it wasn’t Boston. The Wizards –– who at the time owned the second-worst record in the league and had lost to Boston by nine in January –– dismantled the Celtics from start to finish, 104-91, and have since gone on to win six of seven and move within ear-whispering distance of a playoff spot.

Boston, on the other hand, continued their lonesome loser ways, dropping four of their next seven and putting their playoff hopes in jeopardy. If February has been mostly wine and roses for the Wizards, it’s been heartbreak city for the Celtics.

The two teams meet again Sunday night. With Washington on the second game of a back-to-back and Boston coming off a much-needed win over Indiana Friday, the Celtics have a chance to find that spark once again.

Little River Band – Lonesome Loser2009-04-10T11:15:51Z

Kemba Could be Difference

One major difference this time around for the Celtics could be the play of Kemba Walker.

Coming into the February 14 Washington game, the 10-year veteran point guard had underperformed in almost every conceivable way. Starting the season late due to knee issues, Walker’s first 11 games produced career-low averages in points, rebounds, assists and shooting percentages. And many around Boston were already looking to move on from a guy with $74 million still left on his contract (not including this season’s $34.3 million).

But Walker has since found the stroke that made him a star in Charlotte. Over the last six games, including the Washington loss, Walker has averaged 22.8 points on 44.3% shooting from the field and 37.5% from behind the arc — all above his career averages of 19.9, 41.8% and 36.0%, respectively.

Kemba Walker Highlights vs Indiana Pacers (32 pts, 3 reb, 6 ast)Kemba Walker Highlights vs Indiana Pacers (32 pts, 3 reb, 6 ast) Statline: 32 pts (10/19 FG, 4/10 3PT, 8/8 FT), 3 reb, 6 ast in 33 minutes patreon.com/Timi093 ► if you want to become my Patron paypal.me/Timi093 ► if you want to support me the other way ► SUBSCRIBE: youtube.com/c/TomaszKordylewskiTimi/?sub_confirmation=1 ► JOIN: youtube.com/channel/UCsvPqANw09HyK7jsXUC3kuA/join I…2021-02-27T08:57:25Z

In Boston’s come-from-behind win over Indiana Friday, Walker was a stud –– pouring in 32 points on 10-for-19 shooting and contributing six assists versus just one turnover. It appears Walker is finally back to full health.

“He willed us back into that thing. Now, we’re back on our footing,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens after the game. “But that’s what really good players do, and that’s what veterans do.”

Young and Old Celtics Emerge

Aside from Walker, the Celtics have received better play of late from a few other players, most of whom were essentially nonfactors against Washington last time around.

Veteran point guard Jeff Teague, who looked to be all but a permanent fixture on the bench just a few days ago, has put in stellar performances in Boston’s last two games. On the heels of three consecutive DNPs, the 32-year-old Teague combined for 28 points and seven assists on 50.0% shooting against Atlanta and Indiana –– a far cry from the lethargic 34.0% that has exemplified his season and has/had many in Beantown calling for his head.

Another Celtic who has opened eyes since the first Washington game is Robert “Time Lord” Williams. The freakishly athletic Williams, known primarily for his sky-scrapping blocks on defensive, is seeing more minutes and shooting 74.4% with 8.6 points over his last seven games. Williams’s emergence has given Boston another inside presence on offense and forced defenses to guard against his rim-rocking dunks off the break and pick-and-roll lobs.

The lob… THE JAM!!! ⏰???? pic.twitter.com/3FfyIO87so

— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 21, 2021

Potentially the biggest x-factor, though, is rookie guard Aaron Nesmith. With reports that Celtics superstar Jaylen Brown may miss the Washington game due to knee soreness, Nesmith could be called on to help supplement Brown’s 25.0 points and help slow down Wizards’ Bradley Beal, the league’s leading scorer.

Since going 1-for-4 in an overall shaky and tentative performance against Washington, Nesmith’s confidence and minutes have become more consistent (save for just seven minutes Friday against Indiana). The Vandy product has shot 54.5% from the floor over the last seven games and he’s earned the reputation as a physical and aggressive defender.

READ NEXT: Former All-Star Sky High on Celtics Rookie: ‘Once he Gets it, Look Out’

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