The Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards have become one of the latest great rivalries. With Marcus Smart breaking Bradley Beal’s nose & giving him a concussion to the Wizards wearing all black during their third meeting of the regular season this year there’s no love lost for these teams.
Both teams split the regular series 2-2 so we can pretty much bet on this one to go 7 games. The Celtics finished 41-23 since December 3rd just like the Wizards but Boston had a more favorable schedule that allowed them to grab the number one seed in the East.
There’s no doubt that John Wall is the best player in this series, he has carried this Wizards team all year especially in the playoffs when everyone not named Beal decided not to show up against the Hawks in their two losses against them. Bradley Beal will be tabbed with trying to get open with one of the best on ball defenders guarding him in Avery Bradley. Beal has had solid games against the Celtics this regular season, so expect him to keep Washington in games if Wall doesn’t have the hot hand.
Isaiah Thomas dealing with the death of his sister has handled it better than most thought he and Celtics team would after falling 0-2 to the Bulls. The All-Star guard has been remarkable all year getting MVP nods and putting his stamp on fourth quarters there’s no doubt Thomas will be a problem this series. Outplaying his opponent John Wall in all 4 matchups they had this year is pro, but the con is on defense the Celtics really can’t hide Thomas on defense, expect Avery Bradley to take the challenge of trying to slow down John Wall plus switching to Beal every now and then. The only hope for Boston is sticking Thomas on the 6’8 Porter who’s a spot up shooter. With Washington knowing this expect them to try get Thomas in “pick n roll” situations that get Thomas guarding Wall.
This series can go either way so if Boston does or doesn’t win it won’t be a surprise, but the Celtics have to take advantage of the Wizards when Wall & Beal go to the bench. The Wizards bench is worse than a hangover at times with Beal being off the court against Atlanta they were out scored 33.4 points per 100 possessions. So players like Terry Rozier who provides solid minutes and contributions against the Bulls will have to step up, not to mention with the Wizards being thin on the back-end (not knowing the status of Ian Mahinmi) Tyler Zeller, and Kelly Olynyk must take advantage inside. I’ll take the Celtics bench every time. Ultimately Washington takes care of business and wins in 6