- The Wizards are trying to stay near the top of the Eastern Conference playoff logjam
- The Celtics are battling injuries and have struggled since the All-Star break
- We have expert analysis for Wednesday’s marquee match-up and straight-up picks for all four NBA games on the slate
One of the NBA’s best conference rivalries resumes Wednesday when the Wizards (38-29, 19-15 Away) visit TD Garden to take on the Celtics (46-21, 23-12 Home) at 8:00 p.m. ET.
The Celtics do not look like the same squad that raced out to 16-2 start at the beginning of the season, and things aren’t getting easier, particularly in this contest. Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford and Marcus Smart are all questionable, and their status may not be certain until right before tip-off. That’s bad news for Boston, as the team has struggled mightily on the offensive end and lacks enough pop to complement Irving’s otherworldly talents.
The Wizards have also had to deal with missing personnel lately as John Wall has been on the sidelines since undergoing an arthroscopic knee procedure in late January. Washington has since given the reins to fellow all-star Bradley Beal and the results have been far greater than many would have imagined. Not only are they treading above water at 12-7, but the team has emerged as a more fun, ball-sharing group. Go figure.
Perhaps playoff implications tilt this one in DC’s favour. Despite their struggles, the Celtics still own the fourth best record in basketball, and are entrenched as the two-seed in the East.
The Wiz are currently in a middle-of-the-pack positioning battle with the third place Pacers (yes, you read that right) and eighth-seeded Bucks, with the Cavs, Wiz, Sixers and Heat in that sandwich. Just three and a half games separate them all. A win on Wednesday would provide some much-needed distance.
Straight-Up Pick: Wizards
I’m basing this on the possibility that Irving and Horford are in the line-up. If Boston’s two All-Stars aren’t able to go in this one, you can expect the Wizards to take full advantage on both ends of the floor.
Washington and Beal have been buoyed by the recent hot stretch of play from Otto Porter Jr. The Georgetown product is putting up 18 points and seven rebounds in his last ten games and shooting 57-percent from the floor. Markieff Morris is also enjoying one of his best stretches of the season, chipping in 12 points a game in his last ten, and shooting at a 53-percent clip.
Viewers will experience an aesthetical awe watching this one as Morris’ identical twin brother, Marcus, will be playing for the Celtics. Perhaps a dominating performance from Greg Monroe (still waiting) could be the extra tonic Boston needs to stay in this one, but it’s not likely.
Expect Washington to go nearly wire-to-wire in this one.
Wednesday Straight-Up Picks
There are three more games happening on Wednesday, including a tasty match-up in Oakland. Here are your straight-up picks:
- Milwaukee Bucks vs Orlando Magic: Bucks
- Miami Heat vs Sacramento Kings: Heat
- Los Angeles Lakers vs Golden State Warriors: Warriors
We have all your betting lines for these games. If you’re ready to wager, you can do so here, with the sportsbook that’s right for you. And if you’re just starting, learn everything you need to turn into a savvy expert with our Betting on NBA Basketball Guide.
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