Game 5 Madness: Celtics or The Wizards?
Celtics to finally win at home in Game 5
By Liam Davis
All betting lines brought to you by Topbet.
Boston Celtics (-4.5) vs. Washington Wizards (+4.5)
Home teams have absolutely loved this series. Not only have the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards each won two games on their own floor, but they are both 2-0 against the spread in those outings.
Can the Celtics carry on this brief tradition Wednesday night when they play host to the Wizards for Game 5?
We're betting yes.
On some level, this feels counterintuitive. The Celtics have actually been outscored for the series. Right now, they are losing first quarters by a total of 45 points. They've also allowed the Wizards to carve out double-digit leads in each of the first four games. That they managed to come back and win Games 1 and 2 is nothing short of a minor miracle.
And yet, it's the fact that the Celtics have been so unconvincing that makes them so appealing. They have yet to put together wire-to-wire effort for the series.
Marcus Smart has been imploding on the offensive end. He can't run a pick-and-roll to save his life; he's actually turned the ball over on 55 percent of his pick-and-roll possessions according to NBA.com—a disastrous mark no matter what, but especially when he's not a threat to score out of those situations to begin with.
Avery Bradley is shooting 28 percent from beyond the arc in this series, a terribly low rate for someone with his outside stroke. Jaylen Brown isn't spacing the floor enough during his playing time to make his defense worthwhile. Isaiah Thomas didn't shoot a single free throw in Game 4.
Somehow, the Celtics have retained home-court advantage.
There are so many moving parts here, so many warts, that their continued presence is flat-out unsustainable. Something has to give at some point. Kelly Olynyk and Terry Rozier won't be Boston's most effective role players forever. Washington doesn't have the defense to keep this up. Its bench has the worst net rating of any team to make it out of the first round—and the third-worst net rating of any playoff team, period.
But let's say the Wizards continue to shut down three to four key members of the Celtics every night. Do they have the offense to keep winning the points battle to such drastic extents? Maybe. But they're totally reliant on John Wall and Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter only just started to regain his offensive stroke in Game 4.
The Wizards stretch seven players deep on a good night, and while the return of Kell Oubre Jr. from his Game 4 suspensions will help flesh out the rotation, there will be times when Washington is running three to four bench players at once. That is when the Celtics will strike. They've failed to do that consistently thus far, but Game 5 should be different. They're playing at home, and they're overdue for a more complete effort.
As always, it's important to remember that the better teams tend to prevail over the course of a seven-game series. The Wizards have been the better squad to this point, but it's the Celtics who are, in fact, the better team overall.
The Pick: Boston Celtics (-4.5)
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