The Washington Wizards will take on the Boston Celtics for the second time this season on Friday. Washington had no answer for Boston’s firepower in the initial meeting, losing 126-107. The Wizards will be facing another tough task as the Celtics have only arguably improved following their trade deadline transactions.
The Celtics have ruled Jayson Tatum questionable due to a non-COVID-related illness before the matchup against the Wizards. Boston’s roster, though, is stacked and will be more than capable of rolling through the visitors if he is unable to play. Jaylen Brown, Kristaps Porzingis, Al Horford, Jrue Holiday and Derrick White are all available for the Green Machine.
The Washington Wizards are on a four-game losing streak and have just traded Daniel Gafford, their best big man, for Richaun Holmes and draft capital. They will have to rely on their new center to anchor the defense against Boston’s aggressive offense. Many will be surprised if Washington can be competitive on Friday.
Washington Wizards vs Boston Celtics: Preview, prediction and betting tips
The Celtics will host the Wizards at TD Garden on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET. NBC Sports Boston and MNMT are two of the local networks that will cover the game. Streaming the matchup is available by subscribing to the NBA League Pass.
Basketball fans can also tune in to SiriusXM, 98.5 The Sports Hub and The Team 980 AM / WFED 1500 AM to catch the action.
Moneyline: Wizards (+1000) vs. Celtics (-1000)
Spread: Wizards (+17.0) vs. Celtics (-17.0)
Total: Wizards (o236.5 -110) vs. Celtics (u236.5 -110)
Washington Wizards vs Boston Celtics: Game Preview
The Wizards have been one of the worst teams on defense this season. Their usually inept defense may be even worse as they will adjust without Gafford, their starting center for most of the season. Stopping the Celtics, who are second in offensive rating will be a big problem for Washington to solve.
Jayson Tatum may be forced to sit this one out. Regardless, the Boston Celtics are overwhelmingly favored to hand a beatdown on the struggling Wizards who have just made a significant roster move. Boston, however, has to keep its focus and avoid a lethargic effort. The Celtics have to respect the Wizards and square off against the visitors in a business-like manner.
Washington Wizards vs Boston Celtics: Starting lineups
Washington could have Richaun Holmes, Kyle Kuzma, Deni Avdija, Tyus Jones and Jordan Poole open the game.
Boston will likely welcome them with Al Horford, Kristaps Porzingis, Derrick White and Jaylen Brown. If Tatum is cleared to play, he gets an automatic start. If not, Sam Hauser or even the newly acquired Jaden Springer could take his spot.
Washington Wizards vs Boston Celtics: Betting tips
The over/under points prop for Kyle Kuzma is 21.5, which is around his season average of 21.9 PPG. “Kuz” had 28 points versus the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday and could continue that trend against Boston. He might get past his points prop.
Jayson Tatum has a 27.5 over/under points prop, which is a little higher than his season average of 26.9 PPG. Over his last five games, he is averaging 27.0 points but had an off-night against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday. He had 20 points on 8-for-21 shooting, including 2-for-13 from deep.
Tatum usually bounces back from a poor outing and might do it against the Wizards. Washington’s poor defense will likely see him get that done.
Washington Wizards vs Boston Celtics: Prediction
The Boston Celtics are 24-3 at home, the best record in the NBA. They will be facing the Washington Wizards, who have struggled all season. This game will likely only get close if the Celtics take their foot of the gas.
Boston should stay unbeaten against the Wizards but allow its opponents to cover the +17.0 spread.