Game: Denver Nuggets @ Boston Celtics
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Odds: Nuggets +4.5, Celtics -4.5
The Boston Celtics, the defending Eastern Conference champions, had a solid start to the new season before losing three of their next four games. It appears they now have things under control. Boston has won four straight games after defeating Detroit on Wednesday night. With the Denver Nuggets visiting tonight, they will try to make it five in a row.
Boston stars Jayson Tatum (31) and Jaylen Brown (30) gave the Celtics their typical contributions in the win over Detroit. They also benefited from Sam Hauser’s 24 points, a career-high. Hauser came off the bench to show why he’s an important reserve. Hauser made a significant impact for the second time in three games. He scored 17 points last Saturday against New York after coming off the bench.
Hauser made 9-of-15 field goal attempts and half of his 12 three-point attempts against the Pistons. Hauser is shooting 53.3 percent from 3-point range this season as an undrafted free agent. The 2021 Virginia graduate is receiving more playing time thanks to interim Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla’s increased confidence in him.
Not everything went as expected during the win over the Pistons. Malcolm Brogdon was unable to participate in the second half because of a right hamstring injury. He will not play tonight after being downgraded to out. Even though he has a long history of injury, Brogdon has been an important contributor this season as Marcus Smart’s backup point guard. He has taken the floor in each game so far, contributing 13.7 points and 3.5 assists per game.
Denver is also on the rise. The Nuggets have won six of their past seven games, including the last four straight and the first two of a four-game road trip. Two-time MVP Nikola Jokic guided Denver to a 122-119 victory over Indiana on Wednesday night despite playing only 21 minutes due to foul trouble. Denver is now 8-3 overall, which is the same record as the third-place team in the Western Conference – Phoenix.
One of the big reasons for Denver’s early success is an improved roster. The Nuggets now have a squad that can compete with anyone thanks to the additions of Bruce Brown and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, as well as the returns of Jamal Murray, and Michael Porter Jr. from injuries.
Murray has begun to play well again after missing the entire previous season to an ACL tear in his left knee. His average of 18.5 points per game in November is roughly five points higher than it was in October. There have been parts of games where Murray has been dominant.
Denver has won six of its last seven games, but the Nuggets have a five-game losing streak against the Celtics and they are just 1-5 ATS in the last six games against Boston. Even worse, Denver is 2-10 SU in their last 12 trips to Boston. The Celtics are just 3-6 ATS in their last nine games. They are, however, 5-1 SU in their last six and 4-1 SU in their last five at home.
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