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Best Tuesday Night Bets for Round 2 of NBA Playoffs
By Dan Favale
Boston Celtics (-5.5) vs. Washington Wizards (+5.5)
Something feels hopeless about the Washington Wizards' situation.
Sure, they jumped out to a 17-point lead against the Boston Celtics in Game 1 on Sunday afternoon. But they squandered it almost entirely before Markieff Morris left the game for good with an ankle injury.
His availability is a part of their bleak outlook. He is too important to what they do defensively. He wants to play Game 2, but his status is uncertain. It's safe to bet on him playing; it is not, however, safe to count on him being 100 percent—not after he bemoaned the pain he felt after suffering said sprained ankle.
Mostly, though, the Wizards just feel too shallow for the Celtics.
People make jokes about the Celtics' roster, because team president Danny Ainge tends to overvalue everyone. He plays hard ball in trades and stands pat over what others deem immaterial sticking points. But we can't let that color perception of the Celtics' roster as a whole. They are super deep and facing a Wizards squad that, on a great night, deploys a rotation featuring only seven quality players.
The Wizards can try and even the playing field by rolling with wing-heavy lineups, but Boston's head coach, Brad Stevens, has already shown he's not afraid to dust off rookie Jaylen Brown in those situations. Washington can then try riding John Wall and Bradley Beal, but that's what they've done to this point anyway.
Given all of the Celtics' shooting, Isaiah Thomas' ability to scoot around both Beal and Wall on offense, and the fact that the Wizards don't have an effective counter to Al Horford, there's a chance this series ends up being more one-sided than we thought. Tuesday night should go a long way in telling us whether we're right.
The Pick: Boston Celtics (-5.5)
Let's not try and force something that's not here.
The Golden State Warriors are a -4000 favorite in this series for a reason. They are that good. Remove one of their two best players, in either Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, and they'll still arguably be title favorites.
Take a moment to appreciate how crazy that is.
The Utah Jazz are, in many ways, an admirable opponent. They are similar to the San Antonio Spurs, in that they like to beat up their opponents by controlling the number of possessions. They're comfortable shooting late in the shot clock and will rely on their defense to defend 20-plus seconds in the shot clock.
That style can work against almost any team. But the Warriors aren't just any team. They force teams to play their speed—fast and furious. If they can't, they then still try to set terms from beyond the arc by launching a ton of threes. They will turn this game into a late-shot-clock long-ball shootout if they have to. And that wouldn't spell good things for the Jazz.
Both Utah and Golden State have proved capable of playing different styles. It's the Warriors' bag of tricks, however, that's far deeper, if only because they can shimmy between breakneck pace and half-court execution better than anyone in the league.
For that, they earn the benefit of the doubt, even against a 13.5-point spread, until the Jazz prove otherwise.
The Pick: Golden State Warriors (-13.5)
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