Celtics vs. Nets Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
Can the Nets stop their disastrous slide down the Eastern Conference standings after losing eight consecutive games or will the Celtics continue their five game winning streak?
Let’s break down both side of this matchup.
Celtics Starters Driving Recent Success
The Celtics are fairly healthy overall at the moment and aside from the classic trade rumors that always seem to be swirling around Boston everyone should be ready to go tonight. Although the Celtics may eventually decide to move on from Dennis Schroder, this should not severely impact them for tonight’s contest.
Boston has crept up the Eastern Conference Standings over the past two weeks and a win over the Nets would leapfrog them in the standings while evening up the season series at one game apiece.
Over the last two weeks, the Celtics are 6-1 with the best point differential in the league, +17.3 points per 100 possessions and they’ve been winning with excellent defense.
While their offensive output is roughly league average over this time frame, they have allowed just 96.5 points per 100 possessions, the best mark in the league. They’re performing closer to their pre-season expectations, and with a season-long Adjusted Net Rating of +3.9, they’re actually the third-best team in the East.
The big key for Boston has been having their starting lineup intact. Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, and Robert Williams have only shared the floor for roughly 10% of their possessions on the season (For perspective, the Suns‘ starting lineup has shared the floor on roughly 20% of their possessions).
This starting lineup is an incredible +25 points per 100 possessions and they allow just 90.1 points per 100, a mark that’s in the 97th percentile of all lineups. The Celtics are healthy, and they’re showing why they had such lofty preseason expectations.
Nothing Going Right in Brooklyn
An issue with any home game for the Nets is it means that Kyrie Irving is ineligible to play because he remains unvaccinated. This obviously impacts a Nets team that is already without Kevin Durant, Joe Harris, and LaMarcus Aldridge who all have long-term injuries and is currently listing Nic Claxton (hamstring) and James Harden (hamstring/trade rumors) as questionable.
If Harden is unable to go this will be the Patty Mills show which is fine in the sense that he has the best point differential on the team (+13.5), but not fine in that the Nets’ three best players will be sitting this one out. In two home games this season without Harden and Durant, Mills has dropped 21 and 23 points while recording six and five assists, however, the Nets lost both of those games.
The Nets have been abysmal over their last two weeks. They’ve dropped all seven of their games with the third-worst point differential in the league, -14.5. They cannot score efficiently and their defense has been the second-worst over this time frame allowing 123.4 points per 100, just a point and a half better than the lowly Houston Rockets.
This iteration of the Nets leaves much to be desired and while they’ll likely still make the playoffs, it’s made their road to the Finals much more difficult based on the current seeding.
These teams are moving in dramatically different directions with the Celtics on an upward trajectory. While the Nets may be “better” for a deep playoff run, that’s not what this game is. The Celtics are healthy, and without Aldridge and potentially Claxton, Boston should feast on the interior.
On the flip side, Patty Mills will need to channel his finest Team Australia performances if Harden sits and he wants to keep this close against a lockdown Boston defense.
I’ll lay the points with Boston and back them to continue their hot streak.
Pick: Celtics -7 (up to -8)