Game: Boston Celtics @ Brooklyn Nets
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Celtics -7, Nets +7
Boston lost its last game before the All-Star break snapping a nine-game winning streak. One of those nine wins was a 35-point blowout of the Celtics’ opponent tonight – Brooklyn. The Nets have had their issues recently winning just twice in their last 14 games. The Nets’ two wins did come in their final three games before the break.
The biggest problem for Brooklyn is simply not having their best players on the floor. Kevin Durant won’t return until he is healed from a knee injury. Kyrie Irving will be out tonight because the game is in Brooklyn and the vaccine mandate still stands. Newly acquired Ben Simmons is still out indefinitely while he continues to prepare himself to get on the floor. Simmons, who was acquired in a trade with Philadelphia, hasn’t played one minute yet this season.
Boston, which is sixth in the Eastern Conference standings right now, has been beating people with defense. The Celtics are third in the NBA in points allowed per game at 103.5. Since Jan. 1, Boston is first in the league in defensive efficiency. Of their last ten opponents, only three were able to score more than 97 points. In their nine-game winning streak, the Celtics held opponents to an average of 94.1 points per game.
The Celtics aren’t bad offensively either with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum leading the way. Tatum leads Boston with 25.7 points per game and Brown scores 23.7. Tatum actually started in the All-Star game in place of Durant and ended up with 21 points.
Without Durant and Irving at home, Brooklyn has really struggled. Durant has only played 36 of Brooklyn’s 59 games thus far this season. Irving has only played 14 times this season. The results have been drastic. The Nets suffered through a recent 11-game losing streak. Brooklyn is just 3-6-1 ATS in its last ten games. The Nets have been even worse at home where they are just 3-17 ATS in their last 20. For the season, Brooklyn is 6-21-1 ATS at home.
The total has gone Over in six of Brooklyn’s last seven games. The last time the Nets played Boston they managed just 91 points. The Nets did get Seth Curry and Andre Drummond in addition to Simmons and both have been playing. That may be a boost for Brooklyn. Still, scoring against Boston has been difficult over the last two months. The only team that ranks better than Boston in defensive efficiency is Golden State.
Because of its defense, Boston has seen nine of its last 13 game totals go Under. When it comes to Brooklyn though, the total has gone Over in five of the last six Celtics-Nets games. That includes the last meeting on. Feb. 8. The total was the exact same total as tonight – 213.5. The three most recent games in this series have seen the total average 225.3 with all three games going Over.