Two of the hottest teams in the NBA collide at the TD Garden tonight. Ray Allen returns to the court as the Boston Celtics host the San Antonio Spurs. The Celtics find themselves as the small home dog, but find out why I still like Boston in this spot.

San Antonio Spurs (37-14 SU, 32-18 ATS)

Spurs vs. CelticsEveryone keeps talking about the "under the radar" San Antonio Spurs but after last night's destruction of the Cleveland Cavaliers, 125-90 on the road, these Spurs are no longer the NBA's best kept secret. San Antonio has won 11 of their last 12 games outright and covered in 10 of those 12 contests. Spurs on a roll? Try landslide.

Last night was the Spurs 14th win of 16 road games and have been Eastern Conference slayers by winning 13 of their last 14 against their eastern foes. As the Spurs close in on the Thunder for Western Conference supremacy it should be noted that Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker each played less than half the game Tuesday night as coach Gregg Popovich was able to rest his starters for the second of back to back games on the road.

The key to the Spurs success this season has been scoring more than the other guy. Sounds simple but they have made their bones on the offensive side of the court this season, averaging nearly 102 points per game, ranking them 3rd in the league and neatly spreading the ball around this season as they rank 5th in assists while picking up over 42 rebounds per game. Defense has not been their strong suit but has not necessarily been a hindrance either as they allow 96.4 points per game good for a middle of the pack 17th.

Boston Celtics (30-22 SU, 26-26 ATS)

While the Spurs are rolling, so too are the Celtics. Boston has won and covered the NBA odds in 7 of their last 8 games and none more gratifying than the 91-72 Beantown blowout of the Heat on Sunday in front of the Garden faithful. Their defense has been suffocating during their recent win streak, allowing only 83 points per game and former number one draft pick Avery Bradley may have as much to do with that as any member of the Celtics. 

Celtics vs. Spurs

Bradley has stepped into the injured Ray Allen's spot at shooting guard and has sparkled on both ends of the court. Defensively Bradley has shutdown his opponents production and offensively has averaged 14.6 points per game on 52.8% shooting. Ray Allen is due back in uniform on Wednesday night, which would normally elicit a sigh of relief from everyone from the coach to the fans, but what do you about Bradley? 

Apparently the decision has been made to relegate him to the bench once again and let the future Hall of Famer Allen back into his starting slot. Allen is one of the NBA's all time greats, but he is on the back nine of his career and simply cannot do what the youngster Bradley has done defensively. If he goes cold from beyond the arc, will coach Doc Rivers allow him to shoot his way out of the slump as he has in the past or will he tap Bradley? That question may be answered Wednesday night.


Both teams are rolling with one doing it defensively and the other wearing opponents out offensively. It should be an interesting clash of styles, but I see the Celtics extraordinary defense and the Spurs back to back road games as the tipping point. Now it must also be noted that the Celtics are staring a road date with the talented Chicago Bulls right in the face on Thursday night, so will they be looking ahead? 

In my estimation, the Green will be well rested, having not played since Sunday, and squarely focused on the Spurs. Now come Thursday when they fly into Chi-town, they may be a bit winded from this game and could be a good fade tomorrow night but let's focus on tonight's NBA picks and take tomorrow as it comes.

Boston +1 ½ is the play.