Boston Celtics vs Brooklyn Nets

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The Boston Celtics will travel to the Barclays Center on Thursday night to begin their second half of the season against the Brooklyn Nets. These teams faced off one time already this season back on Christmas in Boston where the Nets picked up a 123-95 victory, but that team changed completely since then with the James Harden trade. The Celtics are fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 19-17 record. They are on a four-game winning streak after defeating the Toronto Raptors 132-125 last Thursday. The Nets are second in the Eastern Conference with a 24-13 record and are on a two-game winning streak as they are coming off a 132-114 road win over the Houston Rockets.

These teams are similar on the defensive side of the floor so it will be interesting to see how these offenses will do against each other. Let’s take a deeper dive into the matchup to decide where we should place our wagers.

Tatum Back to Pre-COVID Levels?

Small forward Jayson Tatum has been leading the offense for the Boston Celtics so far this season. He is averaging 24.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.4 steals, and 0.5 blocks in 35.8 minutes on the court. He is shooting around his career numbers as he is 43.7 percent from the floor, 36.8 percent from the three-point line, and 85.9 percent from the charity stripe. In his last game against the Raptors, Tatum played 37 minutes and finished with 27 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and three turnovers. If he can figure out how to cut down on the sloppy play here, it will do wonders for the Celtics.

The Boston Celtics have an above-average defense in the league at this point as they are giving up 110.8 points per game, which is tied for eighth in the NBA. In their last game against the Toronto Raptors, they allowed 125 points on 45-of-91 (49.5 percent) from the floor, 21-of-50 (42 percent) from beyond the arc, and shot 17 free-throws. If the Celtics can figure out how to defend the three-ball, it will do wonders for Boston.

The New Shooting Guard

The Brooklyn Nets have been relying on point guard Kyrie Irving to help carry the offensive load this season. He is averaging 27.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, six assists, 0.6 blocks, and 1.1 steals in 35.5 minutes on the court. He can be a part of the 50/40/90 club as he is 51 percent from the floor, 41.1 percent from beyond the arc, and 88.7 percent from the free-throw line. In his last game against the Rockets, Irving played 34 minutes and finished with 24 points, five rebounds, six assists, and a pair of turnovers. If he can figure out a way to be more efficient from the floor, it will be a dominating game.

The Brooklyn Nets are a bad defensive team this season as they are giving up 116.1 points per game, which is 27th in the NBA. In their last game against the Houston Rockets, they allowed 114 points on 38-of-91 (41.8 percent) from the field, 18-of-43 (41.9 percent) from deep, and 28 free-throw attempts. If the Nets can defend the three-point shot a little more, they will be set.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

Looking at the adjusted offensive ratings, the teams begin to separate. The Nets are leading the league with a 119.4 offensive rating while the Celtics are 13th in the league with a 113.3 offensive rating so far this season. Free-throw shooting is another important number that helps us here. Brooklyn is sixth in the NBA with an 80.3 percent shot at the line while Boston is 23rd in the NBA with 76.3 percent from the charity stripe. The Celtics are 3-6 ATS in their last nine games while the Nets are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games. The numbers and trends all point towards the Brooklyn Nets covering a three point spread in this game at home.

Prediction:
Brooklyn -3

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

Looking at the totals from the last handful of games gives us an idea of where we should be leaning. The Celtics are averaging 235.2 total points in their last five games while the Nets are just under at 232.4 total points in the same timespan. These teams are not great defensively either as Boston is 16th in the league in adjusted defensive rating with 112.2 while Brooklyn is 27th in the league with a 119.4 rating. Don’t forget that both Blake Griffin and Marcus Smart should both be active for this game and adds to the totals here. All in all, go with the OVER 234 points in this game.

Prediction:
OVER 234