2021 NBA Play-in Tournament – Game 2 Preview
- When: May 18, 2021
- Time 9:00 PM EST
- TV: TNT
- Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
(7) Boston Celtics
The Celtics arrive at the Play-in Tournament with a little bit of an underwhelming feeling this season. The team that faced the Miami Heat in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals at the 7th seed this year? What’s going on? We can discuss all day about Danny Ainge not making a move for other All-Stars, signing Jeff Teague and Tristian Thompson this past offseason, and the absences of key players. Sure enough all of these factor into Boston’s success this season.
Arguably, the Celtics are the best team in the Play-in Tournament in the Eastern Conference. They should be easily favored to play the opening night of the Play-in Tournament and take off the rest of the week until May 22nd when the Playoffs start. The concerning part for the Celtics? Jaylen Brown is out with a wrist injury that has sidelined him for AT LEAST 3 months. Yeah, that basically means he will not be available for the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
Jayson Tatum is next in line among the NBA’s youngest star players at the age of 23. He’s scoring a career-high 26 points per game, 4.3 assists per game, and 7.4 rebounds per game. All categories that Tatum improved on this season. Surely, he did miss time in a 70 game season that could help his case. Since his Rookie season, the Celtics have been to the Eastern Conference 2 of the three seasons and finished no lower than the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Tatum has some early experience in the Playoffs overall but will those past opportunities help him elevate his game with the absence of Jaylen Brown?
(8) Washington Wizards
Where do we even start on this one? Triple-double king or the fact that the Wizards may be one of the best teams in the finishing stretch of the NBA season? Russell Westbrook should no longer be doubted that he can help a team be successful albeit that his game hasn’t brought much championship success. But this is a team game and he’s currently taking an underwhelming roster outside of Bradley Beal to the playoffs.
The Wizards went through a brief pause in playing games due to COVID quite frankly. This happened early in the season in which the Wizards didn’t get off to the greatest start. When they looked like a team that may just miss the Play-in Tournament this year Westbrook passed Oscar Robertson for the most triple-doubles in NBA history. Not only did the Wizards regain possession of the Play-in Tournament seeds but they ultimately put themselves in a position to win one game and guarantee a spot early on in the week y clinching the 7th seed should they beat Boston.
If there is a dangerous team that started from the bottom and now they are making a serious playoff run it could be the Washington Wizards. This is the team that started the season 2-10 in their first 10 games. Since then and as of recently the last 20 games of the season the Wizards went 15-5. During that span since April 12th, they accomplished an 8 game win streak. Surely, one of the NBA’s hottest teams coming into the tournament.
Top players to watch
Jayson Tatum: 2020-2021 Season
- 26.4 PPG
- 4.3 APG
- 7.4 RPG
- 46% FG
Russell Westbrook: 2020-2021 Season
- 22.2 PPG
- 11.7 APG
- 11.5 RPG
- 44% FG
Where should the money go?
At this rate the fact that Washington is looking better (and healthier) than the Celtics. Losing Jaylen Brown is one of the worse things that could happen at this time for Boston. Now you’re asking Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum to lead you over the Bucks, 76ers, and have we talked about the Brooklyn Nets Big 3?
The road ends here for the Celtics as the 7th seed. They get bumped as the Wizards lock in a date with the Nets in the first round. Although tensions have cooled off Russell Westbrook at this point against James Harden and Kevin Durant? MUST-SEE TV!!! Selfish reason but here is the deal.
The Celtics are 4-6 in their last 10 games and I can’t trust the fact that defensively the Celtics are ready to face the challenge of a Wizards team with a full steam of momentum. As always check out our expert daily picks too!
2021 NBA Play-in Tournament Schedule – Eastern Conference
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Thursday, May 20, 2021