Wizards Need Mahinmi for Game 6, Badly

Thursday, April 27, 2017 2:02 PM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 27, 2017 2:02 PM UTC

The Washington Wizards came achingly close to beating the basketball odds Wednesday night. They’ll get at least one more crack against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.

I’m not going to tell you a bad beat story... I’m not going to tell you a bad beat story...

I want to tell you a bad beat story. We had the Washington Wizards (–5.5 at home) in Wednesday’s NBA picks for Game 5 of their first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks. Washington is up 103-99, gaining possession of the ball with 37 seconds on the clock. Atlanta chooses not to foul (?!). With 13 seconds left, John Wall tries a jumper, it doesn’t go, Marcin Gortat scoops up the rebound – and misses an open lay-up ($%&#!). Final score: Washington 103, Atlanta 99.

That’s the way the cookie crumbles. We did say this was only a slight lean on the Wizards if Ian Mahinmi wasn’t going to play; he didn’t, and Gortat was absolutely out of gas late in the fourth quarter. Will Mahinmi suit up Friday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBA-TV) in Game 6? If he doesn’t, we might have to lean the other way this time; the Hawks are 3-point home faves on the NBA odds board with a total of 210 at the open.

Mahinmi and Mr. Smith

Washington needs Mahinmi (+0.8 BPM) more than ever. Wednesday also saw Jason Smith (–1.3 BPM) leave the game late in the third quarter after colliding with the base of the basket. Smith suffered a contusion on his left calf and did not return, depriving the Wiz of yet another defensive presence (+0.6 DBPM) down low. He’s listed as day-to-day.

Washington misses Ian Mahinmi more than I thought they would.

— Ben Mehic (@BenMehicNBA) April 27, 2017

Again, if Mahinmi plays, we like Washington in this matchup. FiveThirtyEight has an Elo-based spread of Atlanta –1 for Game 6, but if the Wizards are going to fulfill their betting value, they have to have their best defender (+2.9 DBPM) on the court – especially if Smith doesn’t play. This team is not blessed with talented defenders. Wait for the shoot-around to see who’s active, bet accordingly, and may the sphere be with you.

Free NBA Pick: Washington +3
Best Line Offered: at BetDSI

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