Game: Phoenix Suns @ Boston Celtics
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Odds: Suns +9.5, Celtics -9.5
Devin Booker will make the trip to Boston, but he is still listed as out for tonight. It was anticipated that he might return tonight, but that doesn’t appear likely. The Suns’ chances against the Celtics tonight don’t appear all that great as a result. Booker left the Suns’ Christmas Day game against Denver with a groin injury and hasn’t been back since. It’s been a long six weeks for Phoenix, which is now 27-26 and in seventh place in the Western Conference standings.
In 29 games this season, Booker is averaging a career-best 27.1 points per game. Without him in the lineup, Phoenix is just 8-11. On Wednesday night, the Suns lost to Atlanta at home 132-100. The Suns committed 16 turnovers that resulted in 31 points for the Hawks. Phoenix also shot just 4-of-28 (14.3 percent) from three-point range.
Mikal Bridges led the Suns with 23 points, while Deandre Ayton chipped in with 20 points and nine rebounds. The Hawks, however, hit 19 three-pointers. That’s a concern as the Suns rank 21st in opponent three-point field goal percentage.
On the other hand, Boston just finished one of its finest offensive performances of the year in Wednesday’s 139-96 home win over the Nets. The Celtics had a 49-point lead going into the fourth quarter after making 26 three-pointers, just shy of the team record.
Both Jaylen Brown (26 points) and Jayson Tatum (31) nailed seven three-pointers. Tatum and Brown each scored at least 25 points in the same game for the eighth time this season. The big lead allowed Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla the opportunity to rest his starters in the fourth quarter.
This will be the second meeting of the season between Boston and Phoenix. The Celtics won the first game 125-98 in Phoenix. Boston led by as many as 45 in the second half of that game. Brown and Tatum each had 25 points in the Celtics’ win. Josh Okogie came off the bench for Phoenix and scored 28 points in the loss.
Celtics point guard Marcus Smart sat out Wednesday’s win over Brooklyn. Due to a sprained ankle, Smart has missed the last five games and is listed as out for tonight. The Celtics have won their previous two games but are 2-3 SU over their last five. Boston is 11-3 SU in its last 14 and 9-1 SU in their last ten games at home. The Celtics are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games.
Despite not having Booker and playing shorthanded recently, the Suns are 6-2 SU and ATS in their last eight games. They have not had great success against Boston. The Suns are 5-11 SU in their last 16 games against the Celtics. Phoenix has, however, covered the spread in 10 of the last 14 head-to-head meetings with Boston.
Boston’s last three totals have gone Over. Phoenix’s last two games both resulted in a push. Four of the last five games in this series have gone Under the total.
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