NBA

2021 NBA Play-In Tournament: Boston Celtics vs. Washington Wizards game preview, how to watch, injury report, odds and predictions

The Boston Celtics are set to host the Washington Wizards in the 7-8 Play-In Tournament game.

The winner of the one-off matchup will secure the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference and move on to face the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the postseason.

Boston is looking to secure their seventh-straight playoff appearance while Washington is attempting to avoid three-straight years of absence from postseason action.

Where to Watch

Date: Tuesday, May 18

Time: 9:00 p.m. (ET)

TV: TNT in the United States, TSN 1/3/4 in Canada

Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA

Game Preview

Heading into the game, both teams appear to be heading in vastly different directions.

Boston has lost nine of their last 13 games, with a season-ending wrist injury to Jaylen Brown compounding the misery. Included in those losses were games against the lowly Oklahoma City Thunder, Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls.

Washington, on the other hand, enters the postseason as one of the form teams in the league. The Wizards finished the season 17-6, eradicating a slow start to the season to surge into postseason contention. The remarkable turnaround has been fuelled by an extraordinary run of play from Russell Westbrook, who has registered a triple-double in 19 of those 23 games.

Comparison of each team's offensive/defensive rating
ORTG DRTG NET PACE
Boston Celtics 113.1 (10th) 111.8 (13th) 1.2 (13th) 98.94 (20th)
Washington Wizards 110.7 (17th) 112.3 (20th) -1.6 (22nd) 104.67 (1st)

Boston took the season series 2-1, though the teams haven't met since February 28. Brown did miss the last meeting in which Boston won 111-110, but over the previous two encounters, he averaged 26.0 points and 10.0 rebounds on 50 percent shooting from the floor.

Aside from Westbrook, the Celtics face the monumental task of slowing down Bradley Beal, who finished the regular season as the league's second-leading scorer by averaging 31.3 points per game over 60 appearances.

Beal tallied totals of 41, 35 and 46 against the Celtics this season, for a scoring average of 40.6 points per game on a combined 42-for-76 shooting from the floor (55.2 percent).

Out of all four Play-In teams in the Eastern Conference, Washington is likely the last team the Celtics want to meet, with their frenetic pace making an awkward matchup for the Celtics. Without Brown, Boston has failed to top 100 points in three of the seven contests. In that same seven-game stretch, the Wizards have averaged 124.7 and have not finished a game with fewer than 115.

Boston's Jayson Tatum looms as a saviour for the Celtics, with the All-Star forward likely needing to put up monster numbers for the Celtics to advance.

Injury Report

Odds

Spread: Celtics -1.5 (-110), Wizards +1.5 (-110)

Boston money line: -125

Washington money line: +105

Over/Under: 234.5 (-110)

Odds courtesy of William Hill Sportsbook.

Picks and Predictions

Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21) Boston Celtics

Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles) Boston Celtics

Benyam Kidane (@BenyamKidane) Washington Wizards

Yash Matange (@yashmatange2694) Washington Wizards

Kane Pitman (@KanePitman) Washington Wizards

Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): Boston Celtics

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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