The Cleveland Cavaliers are already into the Eastern Conference Finals again. They now can sit back and wait and hope the Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics physically beat the tar out of each other for at least the next two games. Their series heads back to Boston tied 2-2 on Wednesday. The Celtics are favored to jump back ahead in the NBA odds.
Washington at Boston NBA Playoffs Odds & Game 5 Preview
Why Bet On Washington?
The Wizards had double-digit leads in Game 1 &2 in Boston but lost them both – this series could easily be over right now instead of 2-2. The Wizards kept the home team unbeaten in the series with a 121-102 Game 4 win on Sunday thanks to a 26-0 third-quarter run.
John Wall finished the Wizards’ Game 4 home victory with 27 points, making 8-of- 25 FGs and 9-of- 9 FTs with 12 assists, five steals, three rebounds, two 3-pointers and one block. Wall began the game 0-of-9 from the field, but he made five of his next seven attempts. Wall is averaging 27.8 points, 12.3 assists and 2.8 steals per game in this series. One strategy the Celtics could consider with Wall is playing off him on the perimeter and hoping he shoots from the outside. He’s converted on just 26.9 percent of his 3- point shots in the series.
Bradley Beal lit up the Celtics for 29 points on 11-of- 16 field goal attempts on Sunday, making three 3-pointers with four boards, one steal and just one turnover in 37 minutes. With Kelly Oubre serving a one-game suspension, Washington needed its primary offensive options to step up. They did that with Beal, Wall, Otto Porter and Markieff Morris combining for 92 points — 76.0 percent of the Wizards’ total. Beal came in shooting just 37.0 percent in the series.
Morris notched 16 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, three steals and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes on Sunday. He helped the Wizards earn a dominant 45-31 edge in the rebounding department. Washington also crushed Boston in transition (25-12) and in the paint (56-38), resulting in their second straight victory.
But what about the Wizards’ 1-4 road record this postseason? No matter how dominant they were at home, they can’t win the series without taking a game at TD Garden. The Wizards have led by at least 14 points in all four games of this series, and the Celtics were fortunate to escape Game 2 at home with an overtime win. In Washington, the Celtics were never a threat.
Why Bet On Boston?
Home teams are 4-0 with an average margin of victory of 17 points in this series. Isaiah Thomas has largely been contained by Washington’s defense since exploding for 53 points in Game 2. The Celtics guard scored 17 points in the first 15:01 of Game 4, then added just two more for the remainder of the game. Thomas scored 86 points over the first two games, but he’s totaled just 32 in the last two contests. Thomas attempted 8.5 free throws per game during the regular season, but did not go to the foul line once in Game 4.
The Celtics shot 31.2 percent (5-of- 16) in that pivotal third quarter of Game 4 when the Wizards outscored Boston 42-20. Thomas committed five of his six turnovers in the frame.
“If you turn the ball over against these guys, you’d prefer to dropkick it into the stands so you can set up your defense,’’ said Coach Brad Stevens. “Their attack in transition killed us. In each of these two games, our offense and their turnovers set that. They made us pay for it . . . That six-minute spurt changed the whole game. It’s never good when you give the other team the ball.’’
Thomas posted a team-high 19 points on 7-of- 14 shooting during Sunday’s loss, hitting five 3-pointers with five assists, two steals and one block in 31 minutes. He wound up with six costly turnovers — the Wizards scored a whopping 34 points off Boston’s miscues.
Terry Rozier was one of the only bright spots for Boston on Sunday, as he came off the bench for 16 points, seven rebounds, one assist and one 3-pointer in 22 minutes of action. His plus/minus rating of +15 was easily the highest for a Celtics player.
Amir Johnson was back in the Celtics’ starting lineup on Sunday, finishing with seven points, two rebounds, one block and one 3-pointer in 12 minutes of action. Gerald Green headed back to the bench as Stevens proved once again that he’s not afraid to tweak his lineups on a nightly basis.
Avery Bradley, who suffered a right hip pointer in Boston’s Game 2 win over the Wizards, said he got another hip pointer on the opposite side in Sunday’s Game 4 loss while running into a Marcin Gortat screen. “Man, hip pointer in my left side. My other side. … I’m going to be fine. We have two days, rehab it, I’ll be good [for Game 5].” Stevens said he’s hopeful that Bradley will be able to practice in full on Tuesday.
Washington at Boston NBA Playoffs Pick: Boston Celtics
No reason to not stick with the home team in this series. These teams have now met eight times in the regular season and playoffs, and the home team has won each game.