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Struggling Celtics Host Surging Wizards in Play-In Contest

Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics are slight home favorites vs Washington Wizards.

The Celtics (36-36 SU, 34-38 ATS) stumble into the play-in tournament with losses in nine of their last 13 games. Meanwhile, Washington (34-38, 41-30-1) finished the season with 15 wins in its last 20 games and won two of three meetings with Boston this year.

Washington Wizards vs Boston Celtics
  • Date/Time: May 18, 9 p.m. ET
  • Arena: TD Garden
  • TV Coverage: TNT
  • Opening Odds: Wizards -1 | O/U 235 (Line History)
  • Wizards vs Celtics Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Early betting action was on Boston and the UNDER, moving the Celtics to 2-point favorites and dropping the total to 232.5 by the time of writing.

Washington News & Notes

Washington enters the play-in tournament as one of the hottest teams in the NBA, going 15-5 SU and 15-4-1 ATS in its final 20 games to seize eighth in the East. The Wizards weren’t even derailed by a late-season injury to leading scorer Bradley Beal, who returned from a three-game absence Sunday to score 25 points in a season-ending 115-110 win over Charlotte.

Beal was hardly at 100 percent against the Hornets, however, missing 19 of his 27 field-goal attempts. He didn’t hide the effects of his strained left hamstring when he spoke to reporters Monday, telling ESPN that “it is just a matter of managing it as best I can.” Beal absolutely torched the Celtics in three meetings this year, averaging 40.7 points per outing to help the Wizards go 2-1 SU and ATS.

Of course, Beal hasn’t been the only reason for the Wizards’ midseason turnaround. Russell Westbrook authored his 38th triple-double of the season Sunday and enters action having recorded at least 15 assists in seven straight games, the second-longest such streak in NBA history.

Westbrook has also looked to shoot more with Beal banged up, averaging more than 20 attempts from the field over his last five and scoring 28 or more points in three of those contests.

Boston News & Notes

The play-in tournament wasn’t supposed to be in the cards this season for Boston, which began the year as one of the favorites to come out of the East. But that’s where the Celtics find themselves after concluding a disappointing .500 campaign with losses in five of their final six games and nine of their last 13.

“This has been really hard. Our guys, we have not been perfect,” coach Brad Stevens told the Boston Herald. “(But) we’ve stayed together. I think that’s the most important thing you can do.”

They’ll have to do it the rest of the way without star wing Jaylen Brown, who recently underwent season-ending wrist surgery, but at least the Celtics should have their other regulars available.

Jayson Tatum (ankle), Marcus Smart (calf), Kemba Walker (rest) and Evan Fournier (knee) were among Boston’s notable scratches for Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Knicks, but they all participated in practice Monday and are expected to suit up.

Betting Pick: Washington +2

Boston has underachieved all year and it’s hard to imagine the Celtics finally finding their game now that the postseason has arrived.

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Shark Bites
  • Washington is 15-4-1 ATS in its last 20 games.
  • Boston is 4-9 ATS in its last 13 games.
  • The UNDER has hit in the last 5 games in this matchup.