This game has lost a bit of its' luster from the start of the season, but it should be a nice measuring stick for both teams, for very different reasons. However, some news of note for this game is two players from Brooklyn might be able to play tonight after having to sit out for the last few weeks.
Deron Williams said yesterday that he expects to play tonight against the Celtics, as he has missed the Nets’ nine games, and 11 of their last 12 games with an injury. Even if he does play, I can’t see him having a huge impact on the game. He has missed about three full weeks of action, and it’s going to take him some time to get re-established as the floor general. Plus, Avery Bradley is a plus defender at the point guard position, and he should make it extra difficult for Williams.
Another guy that could be returning is Paul Pierce, however his status is still likely up in the air. Plus, it would be ahead of his timetable, so we’ll see later this evening whether it’s just talk of him wanting to play his old team, or if he actually has a chance at playing.
However tonight, even if both of these guys suit up, I feel like the under has some great value. The Celtics are 10-2 this season cashing the under when playing on the road, and they have one of the best road defenses in the NBA this season. Boston ranks 5th in road defense, as they are giving up only 94 points per game. Their road scoring is nothing to get excited about, as they are only scoring about 92 points per game. However, I think we will see a similar effort tonight from Boston.
The under is 8-3 in the last 11 meetings between these two clubs, and it’s also 4-1 in the last five meetings between these two from Brooklyn. Four of the last six games overall for the Nets have gone under, as well as six of the last nine games for Boston.
My Pick: UNDER 193
The NBA odds for this game have the Lakers are slight favorites, however I am once again more focused on the total, which sits in at 205 ½. Both of these teams are averaging over 101 points per game this season, and with both teams playing really fast this season, 205 ½ seems much too low.
The Lakers rank 3rd, while the Suns 13th in offensive pace, and it shows in the advanced stats. Phoenix is one of the 10 most efficient offenses in the NBA, and combined this season, these two teams have a record of 23-17 cashing the over. I think that is the bet for this game as well.
Even though LA’s defense improves by three or four points when playing at home, the return of Kobe Bryant should offset some of that. His defense is not likely where it needs to be, especially against a smaller and quicker guard like Goran Dragic or Eric Bledsoe. However what offense he has at this point should be welcome for out bet.
Five of the last six games for the Suns have gone over the total, as well as four of the last six overall for the Lakers. In their last five games, the Lakers are giving up an average of 103 points per game, and I could see them giving up around that many tonight. We'll take the over and add it to our NBA Picks.
My Pick: OVER 205 ½