NBA Picks: Celtics Will Be Team To Finally Beat Warriors

Matthew Jordan

Friday, December 11, 2015 2:30 PM GMT

What other superlatives can you give unbeaten Golden State? It might go down as the best single-season team in NBA history. But I say the Warriors' long winning streak ends in Boston on Friday. 

NBA Picks: Celtics +6.5 & Under 216.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

Thompson's Status Questionable
To be honest, I thought the Warriors (23-0) might lose in Indiana on Tuesday night but they won 131-123. Golden State jumped all over the Pacers with a 22-0 run midway through the first quarter and led by as much as 32 in the third quarter and still 28 in the fourth. Indiana did stage one run to get within six in the final minute but couldn't get closer. The Warriors' 79 first-half points were their most in the first half of a road game in 25 years.

Klay Thompson led the Warriors with a season-high 39 points, 30 of those coming on 3-pointers. He became only the  third player in league history with multiple games of 10 made 3-pointers. Steph Curry had 29 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds.

It was Golden State's 27th straight regular-season win dating to last season, matching  the 2012-13  Miami Heat for the second-longest winning streak ever. The Warriors' 13-0 road start this season is the best in NBA history. They are 5-0 on this seven-game road trip that concludes Saturday in Milwaukee. No team has ever swept a road trip of at least that long.

The news is not all good, however. Warriors interim coach Luke Walton had Curry and Thompson on the bench, presumably for good, to start the fourth quarter Tuesday. But he put them back in when the Pacers started threatening. Alas, Thompson turned his ankle. X-rays were negative but he's questionable for Friday and will be a game-time call. Thompson hasn't been able to practice. He predicted that he would play as long as Friday’s shoot-around went smoothly. Brandon Rush would likely start if Thompson can't go.

The Warriors are 16-7 against the spread on NBA odds this season and 14-9 'over/under.

 

Celtics Best Team In East By One Number
Golden State leads the NBA by a mile in scoring differential at plus-14.6, which would set an NBA record. But guess which team leads the East? That would be Boston at plus-5.4 despite only a 13-9 record. That's because when Boston wins, it often does in a big way with an average margin of victory at 16.1 points.

The Celtics (13-9) won their second straight Wednesday, 105-100 over visiting Chicago. Isaiah Thomas had 20 points, all in the second half, to lead eight Celtics in double figures. Thomas was a Sixth Man of the Year betting favorite entering the season but has been starting with guard Marcus Smart out the past 10 games due to a lower left leg injury. Smart won't play in this game and that's a shame because he's a fabulous defender who no doubt would have seen time on Curry. Now that should be left to Avery Bradley, who is also stellar on defense.

One of Boston's key reserves is David Lee, who of course was a member of last season's Warriors title team. Golden State traded Lee in a salary dump for Gerald Wallace and Chris Babb. Neither of those guys are Warriors now, however. Lee is averaging 6.9 points and 4.1 rebounds in 15.6 minutes a night.

Boston is 13-9 ATS on NBA picks and 10-12 O/U.

 

Last Season
Golden State swept two close, high-scoring games. On Jan. 25 in Oakland, the Warriors won 114-111. Thompson had 31 points and Curry 22 points and 11 assists. The Celtics trailed by 10 with 36.3 seconds remaining but closed to 112-109 on Jared Sullinger's layup with 4.6 seconds left but couldn't get any closer. Sullinger had 26 points and nine rebounds for Boston, which might have won if not for going 19-for-27 from the free-throw line. Kelly Olynyk and Smart were out for Boston. On March 1 in Beantown, the Warriors rallied from a whopping 26-point deficit for a 106-101 victory. Curry had 37 points and Thompson 20. Jae Crowder's 3-pointer with a chance to give Boston the lead with under a minute left rolled out. Golden State has won four straight over Boston for the first time since moving from Philadelphia. The Warriors haven't won three straight in Boston since 1974-75.

Take the points, go 'under.' I am skeptical Thompson plays but he won't be 100 percent even if so. The Celtics are 5-0 ATS in their past five games. The Warriors are 1-4 ATS in the past five meetings. The 'under' is 10-3 in Boston's past 13 at home vs. teams with a winning road record.