Friday night’s Game 6 between the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards was a real nailbiter. Which team belongs in our basketball picks for Monday’s epic finale?
Drama! Intrigue! Bent rims! The Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics went hammer-and-tong Friday night in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinal, but it was the Wizards prevailing 92-91 on a 3-pointer by John Wall with just 3.5 seconds left on the clock. Neither team shot particularly well in this ugly affair, but we’re happy as clams here at the home office; we had UNDER 216.5 points on our tickets.
Naturally, the opening total for Monday’s Game 7 (8:00 p.m. ET, TNT) dropped to 212.5 points after Friday’s performance, and it took about five nanoseconds for that total to dip even further to 211 on the NBA odds board. This could be a lovely spot to flip the script and take the OVER. It was the right choice for all three games at the Garden thus far – and all three home games against the Chicago Bulls in the first round.
We’re less interested in putting either team in our NBA picks against the spread. If we were, we might go for the Celtics, who cashed in as 5-point road dogs Friday night to improve to 8-4 ATS in the postseason. They’re 4-point faves at home for Game 7, but the C’s haven’t been playing at a particularly high level, and they live and die by the 3-pointer. They shot 11-of-35 (31.4 percent) in Game 6.
At least that was better than Washington’s 5-of-24 (20.8 percent) performance. However, the Wizards used their size to out-rebound Boston, generating seven more field-goal attempts, and they had seven blocks to just three for the Celtics, so on this night, the lower-variance team was able to pull out the victory.
Celtics 3-point shooting in the Garden: 44.4%— Bill Sy (@deliberatepix) May 13, 2017
Celtics 3-point shooting at Verizon: 35.7%
Will it work again in Game 7? Again, we’d rather sidestep the whole thing and try to exploit that moving total. It’s the lowest number of the series by far, much lower than the 217 points they were shooting for the last time they were at the Garden. And they even get an extra day of rest before lacing ‘em up. We’ll buy that for a dollar.