The NBA MVP race has now narrowed down after the injury to Kevin Durant. While only out a few weeks, his MVP hopes have vanished as others continue to climb. As for the Nets on a per game basis, the offense now flows primarily through Kyrie Irving. He will be against his old team in the Boston Celtics, making this game very intriguing for our viewing pleasure.
Boston Celtics vs Brooklyn Nets Betting Odds
As for who will come out on top? Oddsmakers lean towards the Celtics on the road by opening them as a -4 favorite. Bettors disagree, even without the presence of Kevin Durant, as they have backed the Nets down to a +3 underdog. This comes as a bit of a surprise as the majority of the Nets production rests on the shoulders of Durant and Kyrie, now giving the Celtics defense the ability to focus solely on Irving.
Speaking of defense, oddsmakers believe points are expected to be scored at a moderate pace as they opened the total at 227.5. Bettors have yet to firmly take a stand on either side, failing to budge it in either direction. This is an immediate stay away as the Celtics defense is one of the best in the league and the Nets are in the midst of an identity change. The Nets secondary scorers have stepped up, giving me pause to my initial thought of an under.
Boston Celtics vs Brooklyn Nets Prediction
The Pick: Pass, too much injury uncertainty
As of now, this game is a pass for me. Kevin Durant’s injury has shifted the identity of this Nets offense and now they have to go against one of the best defenses in the league. There are other key injuries worth monitoring that may affect both teams’ productions, making this a pass until we learn more from both units on who will be available. The Celtics are also coming off of no rest.
Speaking of the Celtics, their injury situation is one of the more vital ones as Marcus Smart is currently questionable. He is one of the best on-ball defenders in the league and would be a pivotal piece in limiting Kyrie Irving’s offensive success as the sole leader in Durant’s absence. Without Smart, the Celtics perimeter would be more open than ever for the likes of Irving and Curry to deal damage and spread the Celtics thin.
Robert Williams III injury status is also worth monitoring as he plays a big role in their defensive success as well. While limited throughout the year with load management, his presence is more crucial than ever as the Nets’ Nic Claxton has proven to be a viable productive option for the Nets to lean on. Al Horford and Grant Williams will be hard pressed to limit his down low production.
- Over is 9-4 in the last 13 meetings against each other
- Celtics are on a 4 game ATS win streak against the Nets
- Celtics are 5-0 ATS in their last five games at Brooklyn
Can the Nets limit the Celtics star players’ scoring production?
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown vs Nets defense
The Celtics offense has been a roller coaster in terms of scoring production throughout the season, going through lulls that have seen them struggle to score against some of the worst defensive units.
The duo of Tatum and Brown have been the focal point of their scoring, averaging a combined 57.8 points per game. We may see a heavier dose of either or pending who Ben Simmons picks up with the opposite getting the green light.
The Nets defense has been exceptional as of late, especially on the perimeter, and will need to continue their elite production should they want the chance at the upset. Should they slow down Tatum and Brown, then they may be able to keep within scoring pace.
With too much injury uncertainty on both ends, this is a pass for me. I want to see how the Nets secondary scorers perform against the Celtics defense, potentially looking for a live spot.
Boston Celtics Starting Lineup
Brooklyn Nets Starting Lineups
Boston Celtics Injuries: Marcus Smart (Q), Robert Williams III (Q), Danilo Gallinari (Q)
Brooklyn Nets Injuries: Kevin Durant (O), Nic Claxton (Q)