Let’s take a closer look at the NBA odds for this high-profile affair at Madison Square Garden, with Tuesday night’s opening tip scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET on TNT.
Boston suffered a 85-78 setback as 7.5-point road underdogs in Game 1 last Saturday, as it managed to score just 25 points in the final 24 minutes, which led directly to falling short of the betting total of 189.5.
The Celtics are 3-5 straight up (SU) and 2-6 against the spread (ATS) after scoring 90 points or less in two straight games, while the OVER is 7-1 in that situation since the start of the 2012-13 NBA regular season.
Jumping out to a series lead
New York has taken a 1-0 lead in a playoff series for the first time since 2001, as its bench outscored Boston by 29 points in that particular category (33-4), while it also turned 21 forced turnovers into 20 points on the offensive end.
The Knicks are 9-9 SU and 10-8 ATS when leading in a playoff series dating back to the 1996-97 campaign, while the UNDER is 12-6 in those 18 opportunities.
NBA handicappers need to be careful in falling in love with Carmelo Anthony’s 36-point performance in the series opener, as he shot just 35 percent against the Celtics in four regular-season meetings, which was his lowest mark versus any opponent that he faced more than once.
Anthony led the NBA in averaging 28.7 points per game, which was helped by pacing all players in scoring in the first quarter (9.0). He shot 13 for 29 from the field in Game 1, but scored 10 quick points in the early going.
Boston lost point guard Rajon Rondo for the season with a torn ACL in the middle of February, but still managed to secure the No. 7 seed in the East standings with a group effort from its roster.
The Celtics will need big offensive efforts from veterans Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in this affair, as they averaged 33.4 combined points during the regular season, but were held to 29 last time out.
I’m going to recommend that readers play the total as one of their NBA picks Tuesday, as the OVER has cashed the last three times in this series when the number has come out at 188.5 or lower.
NBA Pick: Over 185 at Pinnacle