The Spurs and Rockets play later tonight so, as I write, it’s possible Round Two could be over by Friday night. San Antonio and Boston will both have to win a Game 6 on the road for that to happen. Two Game 7’s are more likely and I prefer the team in the East to cover the number to get there.
The matchup between the Celtics and Wizards has been about more than the players on the floor for longer than the series has gone on. Each fanbase took a particular interest in beating the other back in the regular season and the passion is still crescendoing.
The home crowds in this series have taken special responsibility to make sure their team wins. And they have. The home team has covered by 8, 5, 21.5, 14 and 18 in the five games.
The home court has to do more with the players in this particular series but the Freakonomics explanation of the referees is viable. The fact that Washington shot 29 of the 50 free throws attempted in Game 5 could mislead. That backwards discrepancy had a lot to do with how the Celtics built their early lead and that they didn’t have to shoot free throws down the stretch.
Referee bias can be spotted elsewhere, like on the boards. The Celtics outrebounded Washington and the Celtics don’t out-rebound anybody. I’ll chalk this phenomenon up to a little extra pushing and shoving and Marcus Smart‘s maniacal tendencies. He matched Marcin Gortat‘s game-high 11 rebounds.
The Washington Post called the series unpredictable after Game 5. I disagree.
The Celtics won’t play with more energy than the Wizards; they won’t get the benefit of the whistles; and the team that does will take the initiative. It’s two best players, John Wall and Bradley Beal, will be the two most devastating on the court and everybody will get on a plane back to Boston when it’s all over.
There will be some nerves mixed in and among the crowd and parquet for that game, which will affect Game 7 like the pure ferocity has done to Games 3, 4 and 5.
You might want the points for that one. You most definitely do not on Saturday.
Free Pick: Wizards -5