This is the back end of a home-& -home series between these Atlantic Division rivals. Let's see what the NBA odds makers are hanging on this one & determine which side is worthy of our NBA picks.
Friday Night Blowout
The Nets traveled to Boston on Friday and probably wished they had stayed home. The NBA Odds makers had installed Brooklyn as nine-point underdogs but it wasn't nearly enough. The Celtics were kind to neither their guests nor those who backed Brooklyn in their NBA Picks as they steamrolled their way to a 120-95 victory. The 25 point margin of victory was the largest for the Green this season.
Avery Bradley led the way with 21 points off the bench while Jae Crowder deposited 19, Isaiah Thomas 18, and Evan Turner scored 12 for Boston who notched their fourth win in five games, covering the spread in all four victories. It was a woeful evening on two fronts for the Nets whose 39 percent shooting performance coupled with Boston's 59 percent field goal mark illustrated the team's worst shooting performance and defensive effort of the season.
When Boston wins a game they do so in a big way as evidenced by the fact that their margin of victory has been by at least 13 points in all seven of their wins thus far. Therefore it is not surprising that every win this season has also been an ATS cover. Unfortunately for the Green starting point guard Marcus Smart was lost in the fourth quarter to a left knee bruise and will not be suiting up tonight or on Tuesday night when they fly to Atlanta.
As an interesting aside, Boston owns the Brooklyn's first-round draft choice in 2016 as a result of the trade that sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn back in 2013. Therefore, every time the Nets lose, that unprotected first-rounder looks better and better. The Nets currently own a 2-11 record and appear destined to get plenty of ping-pong balls in the draft lottery next spring.
There isn't much difference between the evaluation I made on the Friday night meeting between these two, where I suggested a play on the Celtics -9, and what I have to say about their chances tonight. Certainly the venue has changed but the Celtics have actually fared better on the road than at home this season with marks of 3-1 vs. 4-4 straight up and ATS respectively. There are only two negatives I will concede if you choose to back Boston in your NBA picks tonight.
The first is that point guard Marcus Smart is out. But the truth be told Smart was not a big factor in the Celtics' win Friday night as he had only seven points on 2-of-5 shooting from the field. The issue is that it may force Avery Bradley into a starting role and Bradley has done most of his damage coming off the bench.
The second red flag would be the way the Nets played in the second half of their blowout loss to the C's on Friday night. Brooklyn was already losing by 24 at the half, due to an incredible second-quarter run by Boston, but the Nets held tough in the second half losing 54-53 which did nothing to alter the final score however it did illustrate a Brooklyn team that refused to quit.
Nevertheless I am going to stand by the old betting axiom that "nothin's sweeta than a repeata'" and advise a play on the Celtics yet again. The Nets are simply too one dimensional, with Brook Lopez as their only scoring threat, and not equipped to handle the relentless defense and up-tempo offense of the Green. It's like an old dog trying to keep up with a feisty puppy. Boston gets the win and the ATS cover here.
NBA Picks: Play the Celtics -5 at JustBet