Game 5 between the Wizards and Celtics brings the series back to the TD Garden. The series is tied at 2 games a piece with the Home team coming out on top every game in convincing fashion. Each game this series has been decided by an average of 17 points. In fact, they have met a total of 8 times including regular season and postseason and the home team has won all 8 meetings by an average of about 15 points. Could history be on the Celtics side or can the Wizards re-write history?
The Wizards will be heading to the Garden with a 1-4 record so far in the playoffs. Although, that single win came in Game 6 against the Atlanta Hawks where they clinched the series to move on to play the Celtics. They would have to defy their history with the Celtics this year and replicate that performance if they want a better possibility of moving on to the Eastern Conference Finals versus the Cavaliers. The Wizards gain Kelly Oubre Jr. after he served his 1 game suspension due to his altercation with Kelly Olynyk in game 3. Although, they will be playing with an ailing Bradley Beal who has endured a hip pointer. On Tuesday he said he’s feeling better, but we will have to see how much better when he steps on to the court for warm ups. I don’t believe Beal’s play will be effected by the injury but rather by better defensive efforts by the Celtics compared to Game 4. This will indubitably have an effect on the Wizards’ chances of coming away with a second road game victory in the postseason.
The Celtics will be looking to keep history on their side becoming the 9th straight home team between them and the Wizards to win. After dropping 2 straight games on the road they will enter Game 5 with the purpose of regaining control of the series. In Game 4, the Celtics struggled keeping the floor spaced and adapting to the challenge of playing against the Wizards’ length as the Wizards have a height advantage on several matchups. That height difference gives the Wizards an advantage on both ends of the floor. On defense the Celtics need to do their best to contain John Wall from finding open shots and open teammates and Bradley Beal from scoring the ball at his usual elite level. Keeping the floor spaced and keeping the ball moving on offense is essential for the Celtics to continuously move the Wizards’ defense because their players are too long to keep stagnant. The team with the most assists came out with a victory the previous 4 games of this series and this game will be no different. The Celtics will keep a better flow of ball movement than the Wizards and the energy of their home crowd will give the Celtics the confidence to knock down their shots and leave with another win in this chippy series. Hopefully this game does not end in blowout fashion as that has been a consistent trend this postseason.