Washington Wizards (38-30) at Boston Celtics (46-21)
The wins just keep on coming. We picked up another win last night, our eleventh out of our last twelve games, when we backed the Los Angeles Lakers as home underdogs against the Denver Nuggets.
I said at the time that this line made zero sense to me, and after watching the game, I am certain that was one of the worst numbers I have seen posted this season.
The Denver Nuggets are an absolute garbage can fire of a team this year on the road. They have a near identical road record as the Phoenix Suns, and it made very little sense that they would be road favorites against anyone, let alone against a Lakers team that has gotten its act together since making several moves at the trade deadline.
The game went according to plan as the Laker jumped out to a double-digit lead early and coasted to the easy 112-103 outright win. The Lakers aren’t going to be able to catch all the way up and make the playoffs this year, but if they keep playing hard like they are right now, they are going to offer some very good value spots down the stretch.
For Denver? They must play a huge stretch of games on the road over the course of the next two weeks and if you see them as a favorite at any point during that run, I would suggest you bet against them.
This team has shown time and again that it can’t be trusted outside of Denver, look for as many ways to fade them as possible on the road.
Today I look to keep the hot streak alive as I break down the matchup between the Washington Wizards and the Boston Celtics.
The Washington Wizards will travel to Boston Wednesday night to face the Celtics. The Wizards have struggled recently as they await the return of superstar point guard John Wall any day now. They have seen themselves slowly sliding down the standings in the eastern conference and are currently the five seed in the east.
For Boston, the Celtics are going to do their best to cobble together a lineup tonight as they are marred by several key injuries. The Wizards are -1.5-point road favorites. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:00 PM PST from the TD Boston Garden.
To say the Celtics are banged up right now would be quite the understatement. The C’s have been short-handed all year long with Gordan Hayward out, and the injury bug has bitten the rest of the team as well.
Kyrie Irving will not play tonight with a sore knee. Jaylen Brown will miss this one with a concussion. Daniel Theis is out for the rest of the year will a knee injury, and Marcus Smart has a banged-up thumb and could miss the rest of the season. Oh, and Al Horford is sick and missed their last game and may not play tonight.
I can’t remember the last time I saw a team so decimated by injury. I am not sure who Boston will suit up tonight, but the one thing I am sure of is that they aren’t going to be Boston’s best players and they are certainly going to be very short handed. That being said, the Celtics are still the Celtics, and Boston Garden is always a tough place to win, no matter who is on the court.
The Washington Wizards have injury problems of their own this year. They have played without their best player, point guard John Wall, for the last six weeks. The Wizards have done an admirable job keeping the ship afloat while waiting for Wall’s return, but the wheels are starting to fall off during the last several games. Washington is just 2-4 in their last six games.
That has been a pretty tough spot in the schedule for Washington as they have played Toronto and Indiana, the one and three seeds in the east, as well as Miami, New Orleans, and Minnesota. All teams that if the season ended today, would make their playoffs in their respective conferences. The Wizards would love to take advantage of a short-handed Celtics team tonight and steal a big win.
The fact that this line is such a tight one even though Boston literally has no players to play is a testament to just how good of a coach Brad Stevens is and how tough of a place Boston Garden is for visitors to win. That being said, this Celtics team had shown signs of distress before all of these injuries had hit as they are just 7-6 in their last thirteen games.
At this point, this game really means close to nothing for Boston and a lot for Washington. Boston is quickly realizing that they aren’t going to catch Toronto for the one seed in the eastern conference as they are now four games back of the Raptors.
They also know that it is close to impossible for any team behind them to catch up to them as they own a 6.5-game lead over the next closest team. So, Boston is doing the smart thing and resting its players up for the playoffs. It is a savvy move by a very savvy GM and head coach.
I hate to pick against Boston at home, but they are essentially throwing up the white flag in this one. If the Wizards can’t figure out a way to beat whatever random group of bums that Brad Stevens puts together tonight they should be immediately removed from playoff contention.
Stevens will find a way to keep this game fairly competitive but, in the end, I just don’t see how Washington doesn’t win and cover tonight. The Celtics just don’t have the firepower to hang with a playoff caliber team right now.
Give me the Washington Wizards -1.5-points tonight from Boston.