The Nets have won 14 of 15, including six in a row at home, but they’re entering a new chapter of their 2022-23 season, a chapter that doesn’t involve one of the world’s best players. Kevin Durant will be out for two to four weeks with a sprained right knee after an MRI exam on Monday revealed an isolated sprain in his medial collateral ligament. The good news is that Durant’s injury coincided with a small break in the schedule, allowing the Nets time to game plan for a KD-less existence.
Brooklyn really struggled without Durant in the lineup last season, winning just five of their 21 games. However, the surrounding pieces are different this year, and the recent winning streak helps create a different environment for Jacque Vaughn’s locker room. Kyrie Irving will be tasked with shouldering a bigger scoring load than has been necessary to date and will need the likes of TJ Warren to step up in Durant’s absence.
Celtics vs. Nets Betting Odds
*Lines accurate at the time of publication
Celtics vs. Nets Best Bets
Celtics -3 (-110, FanDuel)
This line feels a bit like a trap. I was expecting this to be closer to Boston -5.5 or -6, but I believe the market is accounting for Brooklyn’s rest advantage, plus the injury question marks surrounding Boston on the second leg of a back-to-back. Marcus Smart and Robert Williams sat out the Celtics’ 125-114 win over the Pelicans on Wednesday night, but both are expected to go as of this writing. Al Horford is set to get a veteran’s rest day, and while Jaylen Brown might show up as questionable due to a late-game groin tweak, he said he’s likely to go here against the Nets.
Depth is one of Boston’s strengths, along with the play of their All-star duo of Brown and Jayson Tatum. Their life gets easier in this matchup since they won’t be forced to slow down Durant on the defensive end for 40+ minutes.
Boston is the right side, and the market is overrating Brooklyn’s rest advantage.
Risk: 1.1 units on FanDuel to win 1 unit. (Playable to -115)
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