Two teams with a history of bad blood will go at it in the 2nd round. Led by John Wall, the Wizards defeated Atlanta in the 1st round while Boston and Isaiah Thomas overcame major off-court adversity to cruise past Chicago. Wall and Thomas will be the focus as both dynamic guards run the show for their respective teams.
These two teams split in the regular season, each winning two games on their home court. The key to Boston’s success will be their ability to limit the Wizards fast break points. In their two regular season wins against Boston, they scored 118 and 123 points while averaging 38 fast break points. In their two losses, Washington scored 108 and 102 while averaging 20 fast break points.
Meanwhile, Washington’s job is “simple”. Stop Isaiah Thomas. Obviously, much easier said than done. IT2 averaged 27.8 points versus Washington in the regular season and how he goes, so goes Boston. Frankly, the Wizards don’t have a defensive answer for him so pushing the pace and trying to score quickly in transition will be a huge priority.
From an investor perspective, I think looking at the total going over will have some initial value until books adjust. Washington, for all of their faults, will be up for this series. The only way they can stick around is to score early in the shot clock and push the pace as much as they can. On the other side, I don’t see a way they slow down IT2.
I also think Washington will have value against-the-spread the first two games in Boston. These two teams do not like each other and it should be an intense, physical series. One of Washington’s problems has been taking plays off and just a general sense of laziness. I think the bad blood between these teams benefits Washington more and they should have an “us-against-the-world” mentality the first two games in Boston.
Ultimately though, it’s hard to trust the Wizards. Boston has rallied around IT2 after the death of his sister and, while I think it will be a fun, back-and-forth series, Boston should get it done. Celtics in 7