Nets vs. Celtics Preview: Brooklyn Should Get Job Done On Road
Austin Wang previews Wednesday's NBA game between the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics, including betting odds and a prediction.
Nets vs. Celtics Odds
|Over/Under||215.5 (-110 / -110)|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Boston Celtics host the Brooklyn Nets on national TV on the eve of Thanksgiving. This will be the first time these two teams have met since the Nets unceremoniously disposed of the Celtics in the first round of last season’s playoffs with a gentleman’s sweep.
The Nets have dominated this series as of late, going 7-1 SU and 7-1 against the spread. Can the Celtics, winner of three in a row, exact some revenge against the Nets? Let’s break down the matchup below.
Nets’ Role Players Have Stepped Up
The Nets have caught fire of late. They had a rough schedule to begin the season, but they’ve won 10 of their previous 12 games. The team should also be well-rested as this is only their second game in five nights.
Their injury report is looking quite extensive. Joe Harris will not suit up with a sprained left ankle, Nicolas Claxton is out with an illness and Bruce Brown will be out with a hamstring injury. All three are key players in their rotation and hurts the Nets’ overall depth.
In their absence, veterans Patty Mills and LaMarcus Aldridge have stepped up. Mills is averaging 19.4 points per game in his previous five games and has gone 26-of-46 (56.5%) from behind the arc. Aldridge has added two games with 20-plus points. This scoring depth has really helped take the load off superstars James Harden and Kevin Durant.
Harden has found his way back to the free throw line. Harden attempted at least 11 free throws in four of his last six games, including a 19-of-20 performance from the line to lead the Nets in a win against the Orlando Magic. The Celtics’ opponents’ free-throw rate (24.4%) is 25th in the league, per NBA Advanced Stats. The Celtics will need to limit their fouls on Harden if they want to win this game.
The Nets are an excellent 3-point shooting team (second in 3-point percentage), but the Celtics have struggled to defend against the three. They are 21st in opponent’s 3-point rate and 20th in opponent’s 3-point percentage. I expect the Nets to stay hot from behind the arc.
Celtics Have Rebounded From Slow Start
The Celtics are looking to sweep their four-game homestand with a win against the Nets. They have turned their season around after starting off with a 2-5 record. Since their fourth quarter meltdown against the Bulls on November 1st, they’ve since won eight of their last 11 games and are now sitting two games above .500.
They’ve been succeeding without young star Jaylen Brown, who returned last game from an eight-game hiatus with a hamstring injury. Brown and Josh Richardson are both listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game. Their other superstar, Jayson Tatum, has put the team on his shoulders. He has scored 30-plus points in four consecutive games.
Dennis Schroder has been the main beneficiary of minutes with Brown out. He has thrived during this time, averaging 22.6 points per game in the nine games since Brown first got injured.
Marcus Smart signed a four-year, $77 million extension during the offseason, which doesn’t really align with his talent level, in my opinion. He usually brings his A-game on defense against Harden and really gets under his skin.
The Celtics may have won three straight games, but it was against a soft schedule (Lakers, Thunder, Rockets). The Nets still possess the two best players on the court in Harden and Durant. If Mills and Aldridge continue their level of play, I don’t think the Celtics can stop them.
Brown is listed as questionable, but if I were to guess, I would expect him to play such a high-profile game. I still think it takes some time for a high-usage player like Brown to get re-adjusted with the team chemistry. They were able to win against the lowly Rockets, but they struggled in the first half and I could see them coming out slow again versus the Nets.
I think the more well-rested Nets will continue their recent dominance (7-1 ATS in last eight games) and get the win and cover in Boston. My pick is on the Nets and I would play them up to -2.
Pick: Nets -1 (up to -2)