Boston Celtics vs. Washington Wizards Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Boston Celtics (17-4 SU, 10-11 ATS) vs. Washington Wizards (7-12 SU, 5-14 ATS), 8:00 p.m. EST, Thursday, December 10, 2009, Verizon Center, Washington, D.C. TV: TNT
by Ryno of

Point Spread: Celtics -7.5/Wizards +7.5
Over/Under: 193

Bet NBA games at a sportsbook that offers parlays where some of your picks can lose and you still get paid out! This bet is called a “progressive parlay” and can be found at Players Only Sportsbook.

The Celtics are finally playing up to their expectations, having won eight games in a row after a 98-89 win over the Bucks on Tuesday to improve to 17-4 for the season. The Wizards, meanwhile, are not playing up to their expectations, having lost two games in a row and currently sitting in last place in the Southeast Division at 7-12. The Wizards are nine games back from first place, while the Celtics are 8.5 games up in first place over the second place Raptors.

The Celtics have won each of their last five games each by at least seven points. They’ve given up 90 or less points in each of their last five games. In their 98-89 win over the Bucks on Tuesday, Rajon Rondo had an incredible game with 11 points, nine rebounds, 13 assists, only one turnover, and five steals. Kevin Garnett led the Celtics in scoring with 25 points to go along with nine rebounds. Kendrick Perkins and Paul Pierce each had 15 points, and Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace each had 13 points. The Celtics shot 52 percent from the field.

The Celtics have shot over 50 percent from the field in five of their last six games. All five starters for the Celtics have scored in double figures in six of their last eight games.

Pierce leads the Celtics with 18.4 points per game. He is also third on the team in rebounds with 4.6 per game and second on the team in assists with 3.9 per game. Allen is second in scoring with 15.5 points per game and Garnett is right behind him with 15.4 points per game. Garnett is also grabbing 7.4 rebounds per game, slightly behind Perkins’ team-leading 7.5 per game to go along with his 11.9 points per game. Rondo is scoring 11.1 points per game and is leading the team in assists with 9.2 per game as well as a league-leading 2.7 steals per game.

In the Wizards’ last four games, they’ve been playing very close in each game. They won by four points over the Raptors and by two points over the Bucks, then they lost by two to the Raptors and lost by four to the Pistons.

After missing last season with an injury, Gilbert Arenas is back for the Wizards but he isn’t quite as terrific as he was before he got injured. He is averaging 20.4 points per game but he is shooting less than 40 percent from the field and only 33 percent from beyond the arc. Arenas is doing a nice job, however, dishing out assists with 6.5 per game. Antawn Jamison missed the first nine games of the season after getting injured during the preseason but he is back and has been scoring over 20 points per game in his first 10 games to give the Wizards another capable scoring option. Caron Butler completes the Wizards scoring trio, as the 6-foot-7 wing is scoring 16.7 points per game and grabbing 6.9 boards per game. The Wizards have many other solid scorers to lean on, including Earl Boykins, Andray Blatche, Brendan Haywood, Mike Miller (currently injured), Nick Young and Randy Foye.

The Celtics are 5-1 ATS in their last six games and 4-1 ATS in their last five road games. The Wizards are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 games and 1-7 ATS in their last eight home games. The total has gone over in four of Washington’s last six home games.

Ryno’s Pick: Both of these teams have a lot of scoring options and have a deep rotation, so they don’t need to rely on any one player or worry about depth. They key to stopping the Wizards is shutting down Arenas, Butler and Jamison. The three of them will take the majority of the shots for the Wizards. Pierce can defend Butler and Garnett can lock down Jamison, but the Celtics could have trouble shutting down Arenas. Rondo isn’t strong enough to guard Arenas and Allen isn’t a good enough defender to stop him, so look for Arenas to carry the Wizards in this game. Jamison isn’t a true big man, so he could have trouble stopping Garnett or Perkins down low. The Celtics will try to pound the ball into the low post, but if the Wizards double-team them Allen, Pierce and Eddie House will burn them with outside jumpers. The Wizards aren’t playing great right now and the Celtics are playing great, so look for the trends to continue. Take the Celtics -7.5.