By: Emily Musella
Celtics host Wizards in Play-In Tournament
The Boston Celtics host the Washington Wizards tonight as both teams are ready to secure their spots in the NBA Playoffs. The Celtics have been on a losing skid with 5 of their last 6 games ending in losses. Meanwhile, the Wizards have won their last two games and come in with a much healthier lineup against Boston. Will the Celtics capture the W and move on to face the daunting Brooklyn Nets, or will the Wizards work their magic and send Boston to face the winner of the Hornets/Pacers game? You know what time it is, the breakdown shakedown!
Odds: BOS -2, WAS +2
Tip-off: May 18th, 9:00 p.m. EST, TD Garden
The Wizards travel to the Garden tonight to take on a desperate and potentially short-handed Celtics team. Bradley Beal is not 100% with his hamstring injury, but the superstar dropped 25 points on Sunday against the Charlotte Hornets. If the Wizards win tonight, they will head to Brooklyn to take on the Nets.
On offense, the Wizards are loaded with stars like Bradley Beal, Russell Westbrook, Davis Bertans, and Rui Hachimura. Beal and Westbrook are the daunting duo as they can rack up points quickly and bring a court dominance unlike any other in the NBA. In terms of how the Wizards offense stacks up, they are 3rd in total score, 10th in FG%, 22nd in 3-point%, and 8th in total rebounds. In their last head-to-head against the Celtics the top scorers were Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook with a combined 70 points.
Flip to the defense, the Washington team catches a break with Jaylen Brown out for the rest of the season. However, Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, and potentially Robert Williams III will be good to go tonight. In their last head-to-head Tatum racked up 31 points and Walker followed with 21 points. In terms of how the defense stacks up, they are 30th in total score, 21st in FG%, 19th in 3-point%, and 24th in total rebounds.
The Celtics host the Wizards tonight in hopes of securing their playoff spot against the Brooklyn Nets. Heading into tonight’s game, Jaylen Brown remains OUT for the season, Tristan Thompson is QUESTIONABLE, Tatum, Smart, Walker, and Williams III are PROBABLE. Safe to say the Celtics could be in a worse position, but we will find out at game-time if the above stays true. If the Celtics win tonight, they will face Kyrie Irving and the Nets.
On offense, the Celtics will need big contributions from all across the board to take down a rather dominant Wizards squad. The Boston team should find success in racking up points considering the Wizards total score defense is 30th in the league. The Celtics bench will need to shine through Payton Pritchard, Aaron Nesmith, and Grant Williams. The trio has impressed this season and I anticipate them stepping up big tonight for their Boston team. Big-time players Tatum and Walker will need to give 100% for their team tonight and drop dimes from the 3-point range. As for how the offense stacks up, the Celtics are 16th in total score, 19th in FG%, 10th in 3-point%, and 15th in total rebounds.
Flip to the defense, the Celtics will once again face Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook. The duo will be the main focus for the Boston defense as they have continuously racked up points in prior meetings. Though Beal is not 100%, he is still extremely lethal and can make his court-time count. If Robert Williams III gets the go-ahead tonight, I anticipate he will be tasked to cover Westbrook which would be an epic matchup between two physically dominant players. Tatum and Beal will trade shot for shot as they have in their previous meetings. The Boston defense stacks up as 11th in total score, 14th in FG%, 22nd in 3-point%, and 6th in total rebounds.
ANALYSIS AND BEST BETS
The Celtics and Wizards matchup tonight has big implications and I anticipate a really close game with big numbers from each team’s superstar players. As I mentioned before, Tatum and Beal will trade shot for shot and I also see Westbrook and Walker going head-to-head in terms of physicality as well. Who snags the victory though?
My first best bet is for the Celtics to win this game and cover the 2-point spread. I think Boston is out for a revenge tour and has a lot of talent behind them if they can make shots down the stretch. If Tatum and Walker go off tonight at the Garden, the Celtics will find themselves ready to face Brooklyn this weekend.
My second best bet is for Jayson Tatum to post OVER 32.5 points tonight. Tatum needs to bring it in a huge way tonight and he typically plays very well against the Wizards. In his last head-to-head he racked up 31 points, and has a really good chance of getting to the line to hit just enough points to secure the over tonight.