Who are you willing to bet on winning this match tonight: the Celtics that are playing their best ball of the season, or Washington that is tied with Atlanta for 2nd place in the Eastern Conference?
Boston Celtics vs. Washington Wizards (-9) 7:05 ET
A quick review of the NBA standings finds that Washington is tied with Atlanta for 2nd place in the Eastern Conference at 13-6 SU, just 1 game behind Toronto in the loss column for conference superiority. Boston is now 7-11 SU, standing 10th in the playoff queue. Though the Celtics are playing their best ball of the season, there is ample motivation for Washington in this contest.
Boston enters on a 3-0 SU run keyed by a defense that has allowed just 97 PPG on 38% shooting in those 3 games. That is quite dichotomous to their previous 5 contests, all losses, which they allowed 108 PPG on 48% shooting. In their 3rd consecutive victory yesterday afternoon, they defeated this very Washington team 101-93. That improved the Boston record to only 11-19 ATS as home dog in NBA odds of late. In that contest, the Celtics were led by the fine PG play of Rajon Rondo, who scored 13 points, pulled down 13 rebounds and dished out 11 assists. Results may not be as favorable for Boston tonight, as despite that victory, the Celtics are just 2-10 SU vs. .500 or better teams.
Last night’s defeat was totally out of character for Washington. The Wizards missed 14 of their first 18 shots. They trailed Boston 53-36 at halftime. After trailing as by as many as 25 points, the Wizards rallied to pull within 1 point, late in the game. Yet, Boston rallied to pull out the 101-93 victory. In that contest, Washington shot just 37% from the field. More disturbing was their 21/19 assist/TO ratio. Because in their previous 4-game winning streak, Washington had authored a 29/14 assist/TO ratio. Much like Boston, the Wizards were led by the strong guard play of PG Wall, who scored 17 points and dished out 14 assists. Despite that defeat, Washington is now 10-2 SU vs. .500 or worse teams.
With last night’s loss, the Wizards dropped to 4-1 ATS as road favorite, indicating their excellence against inferior teams. Such has been the case on this floor, where Washington has a recent record of 9-2 SU, including 4 consecutive victories. In fact, in their most recent 3 games, Washington has defeated the opposition on this court by an average of 22 PPG. Last night’s first half was an anomaly of the Wizard’s recent play. With a defense that allows 10 less PPG for the season than that of Boston, I'm willing to place my NBA pick expecting Washington to go back to successfully sharing the basketball and record yet another in a long-line of dominant home court victories.
Free NBA Pick: Wizards -9 at The Greek