Game: Boston Celtics @ Brooklyn Nets
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Odds: Celtics -2.5, Nets +2.5
The top two teams in the Eastern Conference will square off tonight at Barclays Center when the Brooklyn Nets (27-13 SU, 21-19 ATS) host the Boston Celtics (30-12, 22-19-1). The Celtics are 8-2 SU in their last ten games and have won eight straight against the Nets.
Brooklyn has won 11 of its last 12 games but will be playing without Kevin Durant for at least the next two weeks as he recovers from a sprained right knee. Durant missed extended time last year in January and Brooklyn suffered through an 11-game losing streak and went 5-16 in a span of 21 games.
By defeating the New Orleans Pelicans 125-114 on Wednesday, the Celtics picked up their fourth straight victory. Jayson Tatum recorded a double-double with 31 points and 10 rebounds and Jaylen Brown did the same with 41 points and 12 boards.
The Celtics have recovered after a slow start to December. Boston is 11-7 over its last 18 games. In their last ten, the offense has exploded, averaging 120.7 points per game, with Brown or Tatum consistently leading the team in scoring.
Brooklyn defeated Miami 102-101 on Sunday. Durant scored 17 points before leaving the game with the injury. Kyrie Irving led Brooklyn with 29 points. Brooklyn has been dominant recently, winning 18 of its last 20 games. Continuing that dominance will be a little more difficult without Durant.
Brooklyn’s offense ranks 14th in the league with 114.6 points per game this season and Durant averages just south of 30 per game. The Nets will have to come together to make up for the loss of Durant. Irving averages 26 points a game, but after that the production falls off. Nic Claxton scores 11.9 points per game. Where the Nets may find the answer without Durant is on defense. Brooklyn is fifth in the NBA in points allowed per game (110.6 ppg).
With Durant sidelined and Tatum and Brown averaging about 55 points per game in January, Boston should have a clear advantage in this game. Malcolm Brogdon, who averages 14 points in just 24 minutes, has also been a huge asset off the bench.
The game total opened at 227 points and has adjusted to 228. Boston has won four straight and in three of those games the Celtics scored at least 121 points. The OVER is 9-3 in the last 12 meetings between these two teams. The total has gone Under in 11 of Boston’s last 15 road games.
Boston is just 2-5 ATS in its last seven games, but the Celtics are 4-1 ATS in the last five against Brooklyn. Boston is also 5-0 ATS in the last five games against the Nets in Brooklyn. The Nets are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games. They have won their last five straight games at home.
Brooklyn’s only loss in its last 12 games was to Chicago on Jan. 4. In six of its last eight games, the Nets have held their opponent to fewer than 108 points. The total has gone Under in five of the Nets’ last six games.
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