Boston Celtics vs. Washington Wizards
Date and Time: Friday, May 12, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Verizon Center, Washington DC
Celtics vs. Wizards TV Coverage: ESPN
The Celtics know they will host a Game 7 if needed, but they sure don’t want the risk of having to play one. After getting wiped out in two games at the Verizon Center that evened the series, the C’s responded with one of their better postseason outings on Wednesday, taking a 3-2 lead with their 123-101 win. Now it’s Boston’s turn to try and break the homecourt spell. In nine overall meetings between the clubs this season, the home team has won and covered each time.
Putting a winning performance together on Wednesday without much assistance from Isaiah Thomas should make the Celtics feel pretty good about their chances of ending this series. Thomas scored 18 points, the fewest in any home playoff game, and made just 5 of 13 shots. He made it to the free throw line seven times after not attempting a freebie in Game 4. But Thomas wasn’t needed with Avery Bradley going off for a playoff career-best 29 points and Al Horford pitching in with 19. The C’s shot 53 percent from the floor as the teams cashed the over for the fourth time in five games.
The Wizards tried a different strategy on Wednesday and that also failed them. After jumping out to big first quarter leads in the first two games in Boston and wilting down the stretch, the Wiz trailed by 12 after one. They were unable to make ground and never led after scoring the game’s first four points. At least the Wiz can’t say they blew Game 5 because it was never theirs to blow. The Wizards shot just 38.5 percent from the field and turned the ball over 13 times.
The Wizards should be a confident group on Friday knowing that they’ve beaten the Celtics all four times at home by an average of 21.5 points with no game closer than 15. And they’ll have to play with a bit of desperation to try and stave off elimination. Being tighter on the defensive end will help prolong the series. The Wizards allowed the C’s to shoot 48.5 percent from three-point range, making nine more baskets from distance.
The home and away splits have been drastic, but the Wizards have been far superior offensively at home. They have yet to lose on their home floor this postseason after beating the Hawks three times in the first round, and are averaging nearly 113 points per game. That number is even higher against the Celtics at 118.5. And they’ve been able to that without a lot of help from beyond the three-point line.
The Wiz made just seven three-pointers on Wednesday and are averaging fewer than nine made threes in the five games. They rely on high percentage two-point shooting and second chance opportunities. When those don’t occur, the Wiz have encountered problems. In their two home games, Washington is shooting a combined 49.4 percent from the field and outscored the C’s in the paint 112-66.
Celtics vs. Wizards Free Picks
The way these teams have dominated each other on their home floor it’s a series destined to go the distance. The Wizards need to take care of business on Friday to make that happen and I think they will do it. They’ve been dominant at the Verizon Center in four games this season, outscoring the Celtics by 86 points. Losing the first two games in Boston, one in overtime, after fast starts didn’t deter the Wiz in Games 3 and 4, and I doubt Wednesday’s 22-point drubbing will.
It was an all-around crappy game for Washington on Wednesday. They couldn’t shoot and had a hard time defending. They did eliminate Thomas from Boston’s offense, but he deferred to Bradley and Horford and those two torched the nets. I expect the Wizards, especially John Wall and Bradley Beal, to play a much better overall game with elimination staring at them. Check back for odds at BookMaker.eu and take the Wiz to extend this series.
Celtics vs. Wizards ATS Pick: Give the points with Washington at BookMaker.eu
Celtics vs. Wizards Score Prediction: Wizards 115 – Celtics 106