2017 NBA Playoffs: Boston Celtics vs. Washington Wizards Preview

In the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs, the 1-seeded Boston Celtics are taking on the 4-seeded Washington Wizards.

The second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs features excellent matchups with exciting teams to watch. The series between the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards is one that will likely go down to the wire. It took both teams six games to finish off their first round opponents. Additionally, both teams are led by an All-Star point guard looking to take his team to the next level in the playoffs.

The Celtics are looking to show why they earned the No. 1 seed this season. They are facing scrutiny since going down 0-2 early against the Chicago Bulls during the first round. Despite the slow start, they took care of business as they went on to win four games straight to close out the series. The team rallied around their leader Isaiah Thomas after the tragic loss of his sister.

The Wizards, on the other hand, won their first two games during the first round of the playoffs. After starting 2-0 against the Atlanta Hawks, they lost the next two games as the series was tied up. The Wizards finished strong with two consecutive wins to send the Hawks home in six games. John Wall and Bradley Beal put their team on their backs as they both picked up their performance over what they averaged during the regular season.

This is going to be a very competitive series with no anticipated blowouts. During the regular season the two teams met four times, splitting the series 2-2. Fortunately, in the NBA playoffs there are no ties and it is now time to see which team will play for the Eastern Conference championship. Let’s take a look at the matchups.

Likely Starting Lineups

Point Guard

Isaiah Thomas (BOS) vs. John Wall (WAS)

During the season Isaiah Thomas was an offensive machine. He averaged 28.9 points, 5.9 assists, and 2.7 rebounds per game. John Wall outperformed Thomas in two of those categories during the season with assists and rebounds. He could not match Thomas in points with his 22.9 PPG average. He picked it up a notch in the playoffs and is now averaging 29.5 points a game and 10.3 assists in the playoffs. John Wall is in NBA playoff mode averaging a double-double, and he will be a lot to handle for the Celtics.

Advantage: Push

Shooting Guard

Bradley Beal (BOS) vs. Avery Bradley (WAS)

Both players are excellent second scoring options for their team. With that being said, Bradley Beal is a much better second option because he is simply a better scorer than Avery Bradley. During the regular season he averaged the same amount of points as John Wall. If the game ever comes down to the second options, Avery Bradley will have to play out of his mind to give the Celtics a chance.

Advantage: Washington Wizards

Small Forward

Jae Crowder (BOS) vs. Otto Porter (WAS)

Jae Crowder and Otto Porter had very similar seasons. Crowder averaged 13.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. Porter averaged 13.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.5 assists. It will be interesting to see who stands out more during this series of if they completely wash each other out.

Advantage: Push

Power Forward

Gerald Green/Amir Johnson (BOS) vs. Markieff Morris (WAS)

If Boston decides to start Green this series he will have his hands full guarding Markieff Morris. Morris is bigger and a better overall player than Green. Morris is the third leading scorer on the team with 14 points a game. In addition he averages 6.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists. This will be an area of attack for the Washington Wizards to capitalize on either way.

Advantage: Washington Wizards

Center

Al Horford (BOS) vs. Marcin Gortat (WAS)

Al Horford is an offensive threat that needs to step up this series. There is an opportunity for him to use his skill and athleticism on Gortat, who is 32 years old. Horford averaged 14 points a game during the season. Expect that to increase this series as he will be a point of difference for the Celtics.

Advantage: Boston Celtics

Sixth Man/Bench

Marcus Smart (BOS) vs. Bojan Bogdanovic (WAS)

Both teams have excellent players off the bench in Marcus Smart and Bojan Bogdanovic. They averaged over 10 points a game this season each. Bogdanovic averaged a little more than Smart with 12.7 points a game compared to Smart’s 10.6 points. They both bring needed energy off the bench. We will see who brings more this series.

Advantage: Push

Coaching

Brad Stevens (BOS) vs. Scott Brooks (WAS)

Scott Brooks has excellent experience coaching in the NBA playoffs, while Brad Stevens is a newer coach in the NBA with limited experience.

Advantage: Washington Wizards

Key Matchup

Isaiah Thomas (BOS) vs. John Wall (WAS)

This is the matchup that everyone wants to see. These two point guards are very exciting to watch. They both have the ability to take the game over at any point. Anytime you have two high energy stars playing each other, you are in for a good series.

Both players score well with the ball in their hand. Help defense will have to come up big to slow either of them down and to keep them out of foul trouble. John Wall is a very competitive player, so expect him to do everything in his power to outshine Isaiah Thomas.

Boston Will Win If…

The Celtics can slow down John Wall or Bradley Beal. One of them is going to go off. If both of them do it is game over.

Washington Will Win If…

They hold Isaiah Thomas to his averages and do not let any role players have above-average games during the series.

Prediction:

Washington Wizards defeat Boston Celtics 4-3 and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals

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