The Boston Celtics opened as 3.5-point favorites for Wednesday's trip to Orlando, but that spread is moving downward at SBR's top sportsbooks following the news that Celtics All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas will not play against the Magic.
The Celtics had a two-game winning streak snapped on Monday in a 107-106 loss in Houston -- Al Horford missed a bunny layup to win it -- and Thomas suffered a groin injury. It wasn't immediately known that he was hurt as Thomas didn't come out of the game and finished with 20 points. However, he missed practice on Tuesday and will now break a streak of 113 straight games played with Boston, including 10 in the playoffs.
Thomas isn't even with the team, having flown back to Boston to get treatment. He's averaging 26.0 points (career high) and 6.1 assists this season and should be an All-Star lock again. Marcus Smart, a better defender but nowhere near the offensive threat, is likely to start in Thomas' place. The injury appeared to have happened shortly after Houston's Trevor Ariza hit a 3-pointer that put the Rockets ahead 55-45 in the second quarter. Afterward, Thomas acknowledged his groin did bother him during the game in which he played 33-plus minutes.
"It's an injury to be wary of because it can hamper you," Coach Brad Stevens says of Thomas' injury. "Groin strains are a little unpredictable."
As of this writing, the spread has dropped as low as Boston -2.5 on NBA odds. Orlando might be favored with this news if the Magic didn't also play Tuesday night. They won 124-116 in Washington. The Celtics and Magic split four meetings last year, each sweeping at home. Boston has lost and failed to cover its past five on NBA picks in central Florida.