Game: Brooklyn Nets @ Boston Celtics
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Odds: Nets +3.5, Celtics -3.5
It was the best Game 1 of the playoffs as Boston won on Jayson Tatum’s layup just as time expired beating the Brooklyn Nets 115-114. Game 2 should provide more excitement for fans and for bettors. Boston is a 3.5-point home favorite in Game 2, but they will have to up their game another notch if they want to take a 2-0 series lead.
The Nets actually played better on offense shooting 54 percent from the field and just about 46 percent from three-point range. Kyrie Irving was outstanding with 39 points, but Kevin Durant hit 9-of-24 shots and had 23.
It took four Boston starters to score 20 or more points to stay in the game on Sunday. With the game-winner, Tatum ended up with 31 points and eight assists. Al Horford had 20 points and 15 rebounds. Marcus Smart, who just won the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award, had 20 points seven rebounds, six assists, and two steals.
The Celtics were four-point favorites in Game 1 and it was the first time in five games that Boston failed to cover. The Celtics are now 5-1 SU in their last six games and 16-4 SU in their last 20. Boston was a solid team to back through the season going 43-38-2 ATS, but the Celtics went 18-22-2 ATS at home.
Brooklyn was one of the worst teams in the league to back going 33-48-3 ATS for the season. However, the Nets had a decent 24-16-2 ATS record when playing on the road. The Nets are just 3-7 ATS in their last ten games overall, but they have had success covering the spread against Boston. The Nets have only beaten the Celtics once in the last five games, but they are 14-5-1 ATS in the last 20 against Boston. As mentioned, the Nets excel against the spread on the road. Over their last 13 away games, Brooklyn is 10-2-1 ATS.
Boston is the best defensive team in the NBA. Despite giving up 114 points in Game 1, the Celtics are still first overall in points allowed (104.6). Boston is first in opponent field goal percentage holding teams to 43.6 percent shooting from the floor. They are also fourth in opponent three-point field goal percentage.
With the stellar defense, one might expect the Celtics to trend Under. That is not the case as 11 of the last 13 Boston games have resulted in the Over. Each of the last five Nets-Celtics games has gone Over and five of Boston’s last six games have resulted in the Over. Game 1 went Over the total at 226.5. Game 2 has the total set at 226.
What helped push Game 1 Over was the outstanding free throw shooting (both teams combined to shoot nearly 80 percent from the line). The game had 50 total personal fouls and that contributed to the higher score. Don’t forget, the Nets’ defense allows over 112 points per game. In five of their last nine games, Brooklyn has allowed 115 points or more.