The Washington Wizards finally have their full complement of players. That should be enough to make them the right NBA pick versus the Boston Celtics this Sunday.
We kept saying the Washington Wizards needed Ian Mahinmi back on the court. Surprise! Mahinmi made his postseason debut for the Wiz Thursday night, playing 10 minutes off the bench, and Washington ended up beating the Boston Celtics 116-89 as 5.5-point home faves. This is why you should wait until the shoot-around before placing your bets.
Now that Washington is at full capacity, we have to strongly consider putting them in our NBA picks for Game 4 this Sunday (6:30 p.m. ET, TNT). The Wizards are only 4.5-point favorites this time, so that helps. However, our early consensus reports show a 50/50 split in support for the two teams; it would have been nice to see the sharps unloading on Washington.
To be fair, we did have the Celtics for Game 3, and FiveThirtyEight had Washington pegged at –1.5 for that matchup using their Elo-based projections. They’ve bumped that up to Washington –2.5 for Game 4, still two points below the actual spread on the NBA odds board. But how often have the Wizards been completely healthy this year?
At the same time, the Celtics aren’t performing at the same level they did during the regular season. Isaiah Thomas has been put through the wringer, physically and emotionally; he’s had some tremendous games this spring, but Thomas has also struggled at times, and he’s not a capable defender. Otto Porter Jr. (8-of-13 for 19 points, three steals) burned him on both sides in Game 3.
Given the circumstances, we can’t recommend betting the farm on Sunday’s game, but a few pfennigs on the Wiz seems reasonable. The Celtics have been rather fortunate on the court in these playoffs with injuries softening up their competition. Their luck appears to have run out, shamrocks notwithstanding.