Eastern Conference Semifinals – Game 7 (TNT, 8:05 p.m. ET)
Washington at Boston (-4 ½, Total 210 ½)
It looked like Washington’s season was going to end on Friday but a 3-pointer with 3.5 second left from John Wall helped his team capture a 92-91 win over Boston in Game 6 from the Verizon Center.
Seconds before Wall’s game-winner, Boston’s Al Horford gave his team a 91-89 lead with a 16-foot baseline bank shot. The Celtics had one last chance but Isaiah Thomas missed an off-balance heave before the buzzer.
Wall finished with 26 and his backcourt partner Bradley Beal posted a game-high 33 points. While Wall is the catalyst for the Wizards, you can argue that the team is only as good as Beal’s production. In seven playoffs wins, he’s averaging 26.2 points per game and just 20.2 PPG in five postseason losses.
Also, it should be noted that the Wizards have gone 6-2 in this year’s playoffs when the aforementioned pair combine for 50 or more points.
Thomas scored 27 points for Boston in the loss and Avery Bradley also added 27 in Game 6. Al Horford finished with 20 points and the production of the trio helped Boston offset a rough night from its bench, which finished with just five points.
Even though Thomas has never advanced to the conference finals, he appears ready for the opportunity to play in Game 7. “I don’t believe in pressure,” Thomas said. “I’ve worked too hard to be scared of any type of pressure.”
Including Friday’s result, the host has won all 10 games between the Wizards and Celtics this season, six in this series and four times in the regular season. The Celtics did manage to snap the ‘against the spread’ winning streak in this series for the home team by covering as five-point road underdogs in the Game 6 loss.
“The Wizards finally made a winning play to survive a contest that was up for grabs in this series, claiming Game 6 on John Wall’s deep 3-pointer in the face of top defender Avery Bradley. We’ll now get to see if that makes the difference in a change in their mentality with everything on the line in Boston. They’ve been notoriously brutal on the road, but the first two games of this series actually saw them play well enough to win. Game 5 was a no-show from the start, so it’s worth considering that blowing out the Celtics at home in D.C. to even the series after slipping into a 0-2 hole did little to alter the team’s mentality as they returned to TD Garden,” explained Mejia.
He added, “They had obliterated the Celtics so soundly in Games 3 and 4 that they still hadn’t made any winning plays like they had to when fumbling away their first two chances to claim a road win in the series. As it turns out, they’ll only need one, so it’s time to find out whether Wall’s big shot helps the Wizards carry over the confidence to make the necessary plays down the stretch to pull off an upset, since the most unlikely scenario would be a blowout win. Washington has covered the spread on the road only once in these entire playoffs, and it came on the heels of making big plays to win a Game 5, ultimately fueling a blowout win in Atlanta to close out the Hawks in the first round. “
Oddsmakers sent out a total of 211 ½ for Game 7 and that number has dropped to 209 ½. If that movement holds steady, this will likely close as the lowest total between the pair this season.
Boston has averaged 120.4 PPG in five home games against Washington this season and the ‘over’ has connected in all of those games. While that trend can very well continue on Monday, the oddsmakers only have the Celtics team total listed at 107 ½.
The Celtics have seen the ‘over’ go 5-1 at home in the playoffs and the Wizards have gone 5-0-1 to the high side as visitors in the postseason.
If you check out the Game 7 Facts, you can see that the last six decisive matchups haven’t had an outcome where both clubs posted triple digits in the same game. The ‘under’ has gone 4-2 during this span and the two ‘over’ tickets weren’t starting at a total in this neighborhood.
Historically, the home team in the NBA has dominated Game 7’s for the most part but the last two instances in the playoffs have watched the road teams capture victories.
The Jazz did so in the first round of this year’s postseason over the Clippers and in case you forgot, Cleveland defeated Golden State on the road in Game 7 of last year’s NBA Finals. The home teams were held to 91 and 89 points in those setbacks.
The winner of this game will face Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals, which is scheduled to begin on Wednesday from Quickens Loan Arena.