The Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics have played one of the most entertaining series of the NBA playoffs this year, and it continues on Wednesday night.
With the series evened up a two games apiece, the matchup shifts back to Boston for a pivotal Game 5.
|May 10 NBA Playoff Schedule|
|Matchup||Series||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream|
|Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics||Tied 2-2||8 ET||TNT||BOS -4.5|
|Spread from OddsShark.com|
Game 4 live stream available via TNT, here.
So far each team has taken care of business on its home court. The Celtics jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but the Wizards dominated in Washington, winning two games by a combined margin of 46 points.
According to ESPN.com's Chris Forsberg, Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas called Game 5 a must-win and said, "I'm treating it as the biggest game that I've ever played."
Boston desperately needs Thomas to bounce back after two disappointing games in Washington. After a 53-point outburst in Game 2, Thomas managed just 32 points in Game 3 and Game 4 combined. The two games in Washington ended on a particularly sour note for Thomas, as he managed just two points in the second half of Game 4.
Despite Thomas' remarkable 53-point performance in Game 2, Celtics fans have to be wondering if Thomas is the type of player who can elevate his game and carry a team in the postseason. Thomas has been held under 20 points four times already this postseason, after being held under 20 just five times during the regular season.
Is Thomas coming up small in the biggest moments? Or are teams simply finding ways to better defend him during a long postseason series?
The answers to those questions could determine Celtics' fate this year and in the future.
As for Washington, it continues to be the John Wall show this postseason. Wall is averaging 27.8 points and 12.3 assists per game in this series. Even in the Wizards losses, Wall led an efficient offensive effort as Washington has scored at least 111 points in all four games.
Based on how this series has gone, the safe bet is to take the home team. The Celtics have done an excellent job bouncing back from losses this year and haven't dropped three straight games since January—a streak that included a loss on the road against Washington.
Thomas has played his best basketball at home this postseason, so a return to Boston should put him back on track.
According to OddsShark, Boston is favored by 4.5 points in this matchup—a number which the Celtics exceeded in each of their wins in this series.
The more surprising number may be the over/under in this game, which is set at 216.5. The Celtics and Wizards have gone over that mark in three of the four games by a wide margin. In fact, the first two games in Boston produced combined totals of 234 and 248, with the latter coming in an overtime game.
The oddsmakers are clearly expecting Boston to try to slow down the pace to trip up the Wizards' productive offensive output. But the Celtics have shown no signs of being able to accomplish that task. The safe bet for Game 4 is to take Boston and the over.
Prediction: Celtics 117, Wizards 112