Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards (-4.5, 216 O/U)
The Washington Wizards (42-29-1 ATS, 23-18-0 ATS home) and Boston Celtics (40-40-2 ATS, 23-16-2 ATS road) are officially engaged in a dog-fight. After blowing double-digit leads on the road in the first two games of their best-of-seven, the Wizards got back into the series with a 116-89 thumping of Boston in Game 3.
The thumping wasn’t confined to the scoreboard. The game was rife with techs (eight) and ejections (three), and featured a full-on body check from Kelly Oubre that would have made Alex Ovechkin proud:
This was the third straight game that the Wizards’ starters opened up a massive lead on the Celtics’ starting five. The difference was that Washington’s meager bench didn’t give it all back. Once again, John Wall was phenomenal (24 points, eight assists, two steals), while reserve Bojan Bogdanovic added 19 on 4 of 7 from deep.
Crucially, after playing his star 47 minutes in Game 2, coach Scott Brooks was able to limit Wall to 34 in Game 3. If Washington is going to even the series tomorrow, they’ll need him to be efficient throughout the game. The Wizards can’t count on building an insurmountable first-half lead again; rare are the occasions when Isaiah Thomas is held to 13 points and 38-percent shooting.
Getting a bounce-back game from the diminutive Thomas is the biggest key for the Celtics in Game 4. This is not a deep team, offensively. Thomas’ 28.9 PPG were double-digits better than Boston’s next highest scorer (Avery Bradley, 16.3 PPG). If Isaiah isn’t scoring, neither are the Celtics. (Also see the team’s 104-88 loss to the Warriors back in November, when he was held to just 18 in 27 minutes.)
Scoring will only be part of the solution for Boston. The team has had no answer for Wall through the first three games, having to rely on complete domination over the Wizard reserves — or complete fatigue from Wall, as was the case in OT of Game 2 — to get back in games.
With Wall rested and ready for Game 4, someone will have to step up and slow the speedy UK product, especially in transition.
When it comes to betting on Game 4, the Wizards are the play. They have been nothing short of dominant at home throughout the playoffs, following a 30-11 home record in the regular season. As we’ve seen throughout this postseason, close games are hard to come by. Don’t be shy about laying the 4.5 points.