Washington Wizards vs. Boston Celtics
Date and Time: Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Wizards vs. Celtics TV Coverage: TNT
Whatever motivates the Wizards at home needs to be bottled and taken on the road. After dropping the first two games in Boston, the Wizards responded on their home floor to even the series at 2-2 with a pair of blowout wins. Washington had spurts in those early games, sprinting out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter of both. But they allowed the C’s to comeback and eventually dropped both, leading to a must-win scenario in Games 3 and 4. And the Wiz responded.
The Wizards showed they can keep a lead at home and used a 26-0 scoring run on Sunday to turn a close game into a rout. Trailing by five early in the third quarter, the Wiz played what Scott Brooks called the best stretch this season to turn that deficit into a 21-point lead in about six minutes of game time. The Wiz forced eight turnovers and held Boston to 0 of 5 shooting in that stretch to salt the game away. “It’s our defense,” said Bradley Beal about the scoring run. The Wizards have scored at least 111 points in all four games and the over is 3-1 in the series.
This is the only series where homecourt advantage is actually that. Both teams have won and covered on their own floor, splitting the first four games. The Celtics earned the right to play four times at TD Garden by capturing the top seed in the East during the regular year, now it’s time they put it to use. It’s just mind-boggling that a team can look so bad on the road after playing inspired basketball for two home games.
The Celtics don’t have to win a road game in this series as long as they continue to win at home. It was a battle, but they were able to overcome sluggish starts to squeeze out victories in the first two games. That didn’t carry over and now it’s time for the C’s to lace up the sneakers and get back to being serious about their status within the conference. Isaiah Thomas didn’t attempt a free throw on Sunday and that caused him to comment about the officiating. I wonder if he’ll get those calls now that he’s back on his home floor. He will, and the C’s benefit.
Player to Watch
The Celtics do their damage with a balanced and deep lineup. The only real superstar they have is Thomas and when his numbers are below their norms, the C’s enjoy less success. I.T. went off in the first two games, racking up 33 points in Game 1 and a remarkable 53 points in Game 2. The Wizards were able to better defend him back in DC and, not surprisingly, they evened the series with a pair of victories.
Thomas was especially perturbed after Sunday’s loss, complaining about the officiating after he scored just two second-half points in a blowout loss. The criticism was lodged after Thomas failed to attempt a free throw for only the fourth game this entire season. With his creative ball handling and fearless drives to the basket, Thomas averaged 8.5 free throw attempts during the regular year. He made 18 of 20 from the stripe and scored 86 combined points in the first two games of the series and was limited to 11 attempts in Game 3 and scored a total of 32 points in the two games in Washington.
Wizards vs. Celtics Free Picks
It’s hard to imagine Thomas not attempting a free throw again, and with his calling out of the referees following Sunday’s contest, you could expect him to get more calls on Wednesday. When Thomas creates and scores with his ability to attack the basket, the C’s reap the benefits. And, as Thomas said, he plays the same way every game.
But Thomas acknowledged that his lack of free throws were not the reason why the Celtics lost on Sunday. He pointed out Washington’s 26-0 run and said that can’t happen. He’s right, and it won’t on Wednesday. The Wizards are a vastly different team on the road and the Celtics will use that to their advantage. Check back for odds at BookMaker.eu and take the home team to cover in this one. It’s been a winning pick in every game so far.
Wizards vs. Celtics ATS Pick: Give the points with Boston at BookMaker.eu
Wizards vs. Celtics Score Prediction: Celtics 117 – Wizards 109