The Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards are on a collision course in the 2021 NBA Play-In Tournament that’s about to begin this Wednesday. Which team will be advancing to the next phase of this tourney? The Celtics went 2-1 against the Wizards in the regular season, but Washington is looking to capitalize on the absence of a key player on the side of Boston.
Catch this game live on Wednesday, May 19, at 9 AM, Manila time
HOME TEAM: Boston Celtics (36-36, 21-15 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Kemba Walker
- SG: Marcus Smar
- SF: Evan Fournier
- PF: Jayston Tatum
- C: Robert Williams III
The Celtics were among those expected to strongly contend for the NBA title prior to the season. Right now, Boston can consider itself lucky for even making the play-in tournament.
The Celtics will enter Wednesday’s game bloodied from a bad six-game stretch in which they went just 1-5 straight up. They finished the regular season with a 96-92 road loss to the New York Knicks on Monday, though Boston didn’t bother playing its top guns like Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker. Expect both those players to return to duty and try to lead the Celtics to a win.
Tatum and Walker are now the undisputed 1-2 punch combo of the Celtics after Jaylen Brown got ruled out for the rest of the season. Tatum averaged 31.2 points on 49 FG% in his last nine games, while Walker put up 29.8 points on 50.6 FG% in his last four.
The Celtics are hoping they can take advantage of Washington’s lousy defense that has surrendered 118.4 points in its last five outings. Take note also that the Celtics are 12-3-1 in the last 16 games as the home team against Washington.
ROAD TEAM: Washington Wizards (34-38, 15-21 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Russell Westbrook
- SG: Bradley Beal
- SF: Davis Bertans
- PF: Rui Hachimura
- C: Alex Len
It doesn’t matter if it’s a summer pick-up game or a playoff contest, Russell Westbrook is going to play all out and without brakes. That’s what the Wizards expect of Westbrook against the Celtics, but he’ll also get help from Bradley Beal, whose hamstring should feel a lot better this Wednesday.
Beal needed 27 shots to score 25 points in Washington’s 115-110 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday at home, as he had to brave a hurting hamstring. Still, Beal playing in that game takes away any doubt about his availability for Wednesday’s showdown against Boston.
Beal seems to just love going up against Boston. In fact, he averaged 40.7 points on 55.3 FG% and 45.8 3FG% in three meetings with the Celtics back in the regular season. Westbrook, on the other hand, averaged 16.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 7.7 assists in those games.
David Bertans was also a key asset for Washington against the Celtics in the regular season, as he put up 13.7 points while shooting 42.3% from behind the arc. The Wizards are 4-1-1 against the spread in the last six games against Boston overall.
Even though the Celtics are missing Jaylen Brown, it’s easier for me to trust them in a high-stakes game than the Wizards. I’m taking the Celtics to win and of course, cover +2.5.
It’s Westbrook/Beal against Tatum/Walker plus a bunch of capable scorers surrounding each duo. Take the Over 232.5