Though both these teams smell like a skunk, lucky for them they play in the Eastern Conference, which has kept them in playoff contention and at least moderately relevant to those placing NBA picks.
But that’s life at the bottom rungs of the East playoff picture, where six teams are within three games of each other for three available spots. Thus despite their laughable records, this actually qualifies as an important game which attracts more of the attention of NBA basketball handicappers and those picking apart the betting odds.
Both squads are one game off the pace for the No. 8 spot in the East, thus the winner hangs in and the loser falls one game closer to vacationing in mid-April. Here is your breakdown on this matchup.
Who are the Celtics at this Point?
The Boston Celtics (30-39, 39-29-1 ATS) are like the crazy girl or guy we all dated at some point in our life, where every experience was “unique” and any give day was a thrill ride, which was not always a good thing. After losing to the L.A. Lakers on Feb. 22nd the Celtics were a lifeless rebuilding project with a 20-33 record headed towards another Top 10 draft choice.
Out of literally nowhere, coach Brad Stevens words clicked and Boston began playing defense, was executing on offense and were actually – Play On- material for those making sports picks in posting a 10-3 SU and ATS record. Over those lucky 13 games, because of the conference they play in, the C’s became a playoff team and were listed in the mix.
However, trips to Oklahoma City and San Antonio provided losses and last night without it’s two point guards top-two point guards in Marcus Smart (suspension) and Isaiah Thomas (bruised tailbone), Boston fell at home to Detroit 105-97 as six-point home favorite and are back to chasing postseason dreams.
Two unmistakable aspects about Stevens’s team that cannot be overlooked. First, even though they have won 10 of 16, on six different occasions they have shot under 40 percent, which tells anyone studying the NBA odds they have little margin for error and secondly, when they don’t focus on defense like the past three defeats (109.3 points per game allowed), they are very beatable.
Brooklyn Doesn’t Care How They Win, as Long as They Do
At 29-39, the Nets (32-35-1 ATS) are a truly crummy basketball team, though not Knicks bad mind you. The only identity this club has is they are all over the map. Sometimes they score a lot of points over swatches of time and other times they cannot score at all.
In winning four of five to remain in playoff contention, the Nets have scored anywhere from 92 points to 129 (granted, the latter figure required three OT’s but work with me here). With me-first players like Joe Johnson (15.0 PPG) and Deron Williams (13.0), this dynamic duo is going to make sure they hit their shot quota first and test the waters to find out if they are “hot” before sharing the ball.
Coach Lionel Hollins might be old school in how he wants his team to play, but he’s had little impact on this team’s behavior and if the Nets don’t score, their defense will not save.
Brooklyn’s record essentially matches their defensive output, which is feeble. If you toss out the game against perpetually rebuilding Philadelphia, in the other last 10 contests the Nets were supposed to guard the opposing team, it looked like a Sacramento Kings training video on NOT what to do in surrendering 110.2 PPG.
With Boston limited options to score, Brooklyn players will have to give even less effort on defense to maintain this scoring average.
Betting Odds and Head to Head
Brooklyn is 1-2 SU and ATS versus Boston this season and sportsbooks like 5Dimes have them as five-point favorite with a total of 203. The Nets have won three of five at the Barclays Center versus the C’s the past three seasons (2-2-1 ATS).
Off their game last night versus Detroit, after this evening, Boston will have a day off between outings when playing Miami starting Wednesday, at New York and back home to face the Los Angeles Clippers. The Celtics are freakish 9-5 and 10-3-1 ATS without rest.
Brooklyn is off exceptional win at Indiana on Saturday, taking down the Pacers by 12 on as 8.5-point underdogs. The Nets recent schedule will continue of having roughly 46 hours between starts, playing at Charlotte on hump day, followed by a three-game homestand that will bring Cleveland, the Lakers and a return engagement with Indiana in the coming week. Brooklyn is 15-22 and 15-21-1 ATS with one day off, losing by 2.9 points per game on average.
I’m going to be downright trendy with today’s NBA picks! Besides Boston being so good without rest, they are 18-9 ATS as road underdogs and 8-1 ATS away after two or more consecutive losses.
Brooklyn cannot stand the idea of prosperity and is a faulty 10-20 ATS at home and an unthinkable 1-12 ATS after two or more consecutive wins.
Take the points.
NBA Basketball Free Pick – Boston +4