One of the most shocking results of the 2022 NBA Playoffs has the Nets staring at a 3-0 deficit to the Celtics.
While the No. 2 seeded Celtics brought a clear advantage with a 51-31 regular season record, but Brooklyn was actually the betting favorite at the beginning of the series. Boston put forth a dominant performance in Game 2, led by Jason Tatum’s 39 points. The Celtics only shot 30.8% (12 of 29) from 3P range, still leaving room for improvement.
Can the Nets rally to force a Game 5 in Boston, or is Brooklyn head coach Steve Nash out of adjustments against a superior Boston roster? Let’s take a close look at where bettors should place their money tonight in game that still has Brooklyn as a slight 1.5 point favorite.
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Celtics vs. Nets Betting Odds
*Lines accurate at the time of publication.
Celtics vs. Nets Best Bets
Celtics +1.5 (-110, FanDuel)
Brooklyn head coach Steve Nash appears to be out of options to stop Boston’s Jason Tatum. The 24-year-old forward is averaging 29.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 8.0 assists on a strong 43.7 minutes per game. The Celtics continue to attack the Nets by putting Tatum in a pick-and-roll situations, hunting for the best matchup to attack. Brooklyn’s lack of perimeter defense eventually provides a favorable matchup, which Tatum has used to blowtorch the Nets.
The biggest surprise of this series as been the lack of offensive efficiency from the Nets. Forward Kevin Durant is having his worst playoff series of his career, averaging just 22 points per game on 36.5 percent shooting from the field. Outside of his brilliant Game 1 performance, teammate Kyrie Irving hasn’t been much better. Irving is a combined 0-8 from 3P range in the Nets last two losses to Boston.
The Celtics defense became even stronger with the Game 3 return of center Robert Williams from a torn meniscus. Williams has combined with Daniel Theis and Al Horford for a versatile interior presence that has stifled center Andre Drummond, who ended the regular season averaging 12.3 PPG and 11.3 RPG over his last ten contests. The Celtics have limited the Brooklyn center to just 5.0 points and 3.7 rebounds in just 18.7 minutes per game in this series.
Brooklyn was a league-worst 9-33-1 ATS at home this season, and have failed to cover 26 of their last 27 home games as a favorite. If the Nets were going to make major adjustments, it would have occurred in Game 3. I think the Nets are out of options and the Boston defense is too dominant with the addition of Williams returning. I’m backing Boston to finish off the sweep tonight at the Barclays Center in Game 4.
Risk: 1.10 units on FanDuel to win 1 unit. (Bet up to -120)
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Celtics vs. Nets Game Total Under 220 Points (-110, DraftKings)
Unders continue to dominate the NBA playoffs, hitting at a 64.9% (24-13) rate. The under is 2-1 in this series, with only Game 1 cresting the projected total by 2.5 points.
The key variable continues to be the Boston defense, which was a dominant group to the under when healthy. Boston games hit 11 of 14 unders from January 17th to February 13th, and have a myriad of options to limit both Durant and Irving. The Celtics continue to switch on all screens, and use versatile defenders such as Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Robert Williams to force the Nets to attack with secondary options. Brooklyn’s supporting cast just isn’t talented enough to score consistently against that type of defense.
I’m taking the under in a critical Game 4 that should bring the best defensive effort of the series for the Nets.
Risk: 1.10 units on DraftKings to win 1 unit. (Bet up to -120)
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