#520 Boston Celticsvs.#519 Washington Wizards
Wednesday, May 5 2017, at 8:00pm EDT
Written by Chuck D
Washington Wizards 55-37 (47-44 ATS) at Boston Celtics 59-33 (46-44 ATS)
When and Where: Wednesday, May 10, TD Garden, Boston, Mass. 8:00pm EDT (TNT)
Spread: Boston -4.5; Total: 215.5
There is an old saying that goes, “It’s not a series until a team loses on their own homecourt.” It is a stupid saying, but if that is the case, then the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Celtics and Wizards, is still not a series. After two victories in Boston, the Celtics went to the nation’s capital and dropped two straight to the Wizards, both convincingly. In Sunday’s contest, Washington easily prevailed, 121-102, to even up the best-of-seven series at two games apiece. Boston still leads the all-time postseason series 11-8, and the overall series 201-118.
If Washington can steal a win in Boston, it is probably their series to lose. At that point they will have won three straight games, and wrestled homecourt advantage away from the Celtics. They won the last two games in D.C. by a combined 46 points, and in Sunday’s 19-point victory, they used a 26-0 third quarter run to put the game away. Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said it was his team’s best stretch of basketball of the season, and went on to add, “We played inspired basketball for each other. Defensively we were in the right position. … We didn’t make silly mistakes that we made early in the game, and it pays off.”
The team forced 20 turnovers and scored 34 points off of them. Markieff Morris had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. The power forward is overcoming an ankle injury but seems confident in his team, stating, “They’re still a good team. It’s Boston, know what I mean? But we feel like we are the better team, even to start the series.” He added, “This is what we wanted during the regular season when we was chippy and going at it. We wanted Boston in the playoffs.” Bradley Beal led the team in scoring. The University of Florida alum scored 29 points in victory.
While Boston was blown out in both games in Washington, things were going well enough in Game 4 and they even had the lead in the third quarter before surrendering a 26-point run to the Wiz. They were ultimately outscored 42-20 in that third period en route to the 19-point loss. The Celtics also allowed 34 points off of turnovers. “If you turn the ball over against these guys, you’d prefer to drop-kick it into the stands so that at least you could set your defense,” Boston coach Brad Stevens told reporters. “Their attack in transition killed us.”
Isaiah Thomas, who scored 53 points in the team’s Game 2 win, struggled in Washington, averaging just 16 points per game. He feels the referees were not as generous in D.C. as they were in his home arena. “The refs were allowing them to hold and grab and do all those things,” Thomas told reporters. “I think, especially in the third quarter, I might have hit the ground five or six straight times, and I’m not the one that likes hitting the ground. … I can’t be allowed to be held and grabbed every pin-down, every screen.” Jae Crowder actually led the team in free-throws made, with seven, compared to John Wall’s nine. The team is going to have to step it up in the assists department. Marcus Smart had six, compared to Wall’s 12. The team as a whole sho 43.3 percent nad made just 14 of their 31 3-point attempts.
With the series switching back to Boston, the Celtics have rightfully been installed as the favorite. However, if you look at the last two outings, the Wizards have certainly wrestled momentum away in the series. They have pummeled Boston twice in a row, and Game 2 in Boston was not exactly a cakewalk for the Celtics. They had to comeback and force overtime before barely surviving in the four-point victory. If Boston wins this one tonight, I expect they will have to scratch and claw their way to victory again. That is even if they manage to win. I like the Wizards and the points here, and so you should.
The Celtics have had trouble putting points on the board in the last couple games. In particular in Game 3, when they scored just 89 points. Yes, they managed to score 102 in Game 4, but of course, allowed 121. With the series switching back to Boston, the Over should be the play here, considering both Game 1 and Game 2 were high scoring affairs for both sides, particularly Game 2, which went to overtime.
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Chuck Dowling is a 30-something University of Florida J-School alum that lives in his mother’s basement. Just kidding... there are no basements in Florida (the ground is too moist). He has been in the “biz” for his entire adult life and specializes in NCAA football and basketball, as well as soccer, boxing, and MMA. When not writing, Chuck moonlights as a high school athletics radio and internet-television broadcaster.