Suddenly Beatable?

The Boston Celtics suddenly look very beatable. The Washington Wizards know that as well as anybody, having beaten them on Saturday.

The Wizards will try to complete an unlikely home-and-home sweep of the NBA's best team as they travel to Boston on Monday, also looking to win three in a row for the first time in a month.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Boston –12.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 184 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 62% of bets for this game have been placed on Boston –12.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

The Celtics (30-5) looked nearly invincible barely more than a week ago, having extended their winning streak to nine with a road win against the Detroit Pistons - the team with the NBA's second-best record.

But since then, they've lost two out of three for the first time this season, including a home loss to Charlotte and an 85-78 defeat at Washington on Saturday. The Celtics shot just 41.3 percent from the floor, scored a season-low in points and were outrebounded 49-30.

"I thought Washington deserved it," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "It was a scrum - that's what it looked like. It was more like rugby for the most part. Every loose ball, every long rebound they got."

The Celtics are averaging just 82.3 points in their last three games, shooting 43.7 percent from the field. With point guard Rajon Rondo out with a sore back, they also had 21 turnovers against the Wizards, who converted those miscues into 28 points.

"I thought we could have executed a little better. We rushed a lot of shots. We didn't have the click that we usually have," Celtics forward Kevin Garnett said. "We'll make an adjustment come Monday."

Boston still has the NBA's best record, with five fewer losses than any other team, and is also a league-best 16-2 at home. The Celtics last lost consecutive games just before the end of last season, when they finished 24-58.

They opened this season with a 103-83 home win over Washington (19-16), but that's their only victory in their last six games against the Wizards. Paul Pierce had 28 points, and Garnett added 22 and a season-high 20 rebounds in that game.

Washington has been playing better recently, winning consecutive games and four of its last five, but hadn't beaten a winning team since Dec. 1 until Saturday's victory. The Wizards haven't won three straight since a four-game winning streak from Dec. 9-15.

They beat Boston despite shooting 36.8 percent from the field, their worst shooting night since Nov. 3. Washington also was just 2-of-18 from 3-point range, but compensated with defense, rebounding and strong foul shooting - making 27-of-30.

DeShawn Stevenson had 19 points for the second straight game on Saturday, well above his season average of 9.3. The Wizards outscored Boston 25-13 in the fourth quarter, a part of the game that has been a problem since Gilbert Arenas' injury.

"We've had some problems against some of the better teams in the league because that's when he normally takes over for us - down the stretch," Washington center Brendan Haywood said. "But guys are getting more and more accustomed to their roles and we're getting better as a cohesive unit."

This is the first of three home-and-home series this month for the Wizards, who will play the New York Knicks on both Tuesday and Friday. Boston, meanwhile, will complete its only home-and-home this season with this game.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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