However, due to a combination of injury issues, COVID protocols and chemistry issues, neither the Celtics nor the Wizards got off to a particularly strong start and, in turn, both teams struggled to find consistency during the campaign. The Wizards have played a much better ball since the All-Star break, but they still finished the season under 0.500 (34-38), while the Celtics finished at exactly 0.500 (36-36) – their worst percentage. wins since the 2014-15 Season. As a result, the two teams must meet in the first round of the play-in tournament.
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The winner of the Boston-Washington game will get the seventh seed in the East and a first-round game with the Brooklyn Nets. The loser will have to play the winner of the 9-on-10 game between the Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Hornets. The winner of this contest will be the eighth seed in the East and face the seeded Philadelphia 76ers in the first round. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Tuesday’s game play between the Celtics and the Wizards.
(7) Boston Celtics contre (8) Washington Wizards
- When: Mardi 18 mai | 21 h HE
- Or: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts
- TV: TNT | Direct: fuboTV
- Chances: WAS +100; BOS -120; O / U 232.5 (via William Hill Sportsbook)
1. Two teams move in different directions
While the final record is important, recent play is often a better indicator of a team’s performance in the playoffs. A team that was hot to start a season but fell during the campaign could end a season with a better overall record than a team that started slow but turned it on as the season progressed. Yet often the team that heats up at the right time is more dangerous in the playoffs. In this case, this fact favors sorcerers. Sure, the Celtics ended the season with a better record, but look at how both teams have fared recently.
In their last 15 games, Washington has gone 10-5, which is one of the best scores in the league. Boston, on the other hand, has only gone 5-10 in its last 15 games, which obviously isn’t ideal heading into the playoffs. There are a few things the Wizards have figured out and they seem to be playing their best ball at the right time, while the Celtics have largely looked lost last month. So while the Celtics have the best record and are the highest seeded, they drink into the play-in tournament, while the Wizards get in on the momentum they’ve built in recent weeks. Confidence and momentum are big factors in basketball, and the Wizards appear to have the edge in both categories.
2. Will Boston be able to overcome Jaylen Brown’s absence?
As for the Wizards, we know they’re going to get a huge percentage of their offensive output from the duo of Beal and Westbrook. This is their formula. For the Celtics, things aren’t quite so arranged as they will be without their second-best player Jaylen Brown, who is sidelined for the remainder of the season after wrist surgery. Brown enjoyed a breakout season, averaging 24.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game for the Celtics – a production they struggled to replace ever since Brown fell. It’s no coincidence that the Celtics have struggled lately. They’ve gone just 2-5 since Brown was out of the rotation.
Jayson Tatum is obviously the guy from Boston, and he’s going to have his. However, without his sidekick, it becomes easier for opponents, like the Wizards, to plot against Tatum and limit his ability to be productive on the offensive side. This is where Boston will need other guys, like Kemba Walker, to step up and help Tatum with the scoring load. If Walker’s guard trio, Marcus Smart and Evan Fournier can all step up and have good games against Washington, the Celtics will have a good chance of securing the seventh seed. Otherwise, it will be very difficult for Boston to come away with a victory.
3. All eyes on Bradley Beal’s health
If you watched Washington’s last regular season game against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday, you could tell Beal wasn’t 100 percent. Beal, who suffered from a persistent hamstring injury, was doing fieldwork and it was obvious he was in pain. Beal had missed the previous three games and admitted he probably shouldn’t have played in the final either. In the end, Beal played because he wanted to help his team get into the playoffs. Now, however, the Wizards have to hope he does well for their game against the Celtics and beyond. Beal himself admitted that he wouldn’t be 100% up for the contest.
“There is no setback. I haven’t hurt him more than that already, so that’s positive, ” Beal a dit of hamstring injury. “Obviously, it won’t be 100 percent. I just have to deal with it the best I can. ”
Even at less than 100%, Beal can be a major difference maker in the game, but wizards also need to be careful with him as they obviously don’t want the injury to turn into something worse. They will likely watch his minutes and make sure he feels good during the contest. If Beal can get close to playing like he usually does, that will be a big boon for Washington. Otherwise, it’s obviously an advantage for Boston.
The Celtics won two of the three meetings between the two teams during the regular season, but they haven’t faced each other since February, and the Wizards have been a much improved team since then. If the Celtics were at full power the story would be different, but without Jaylen Brown they will be struggling to keep up with Washington on both sides and that could ultimately be the difference in the game. Picks: Wizards +1.5