The Brooklyn Nets (31-19) battle the Boston Celtics (36-15) on Wednesday night for the third time this season. Kevin Durant, Ben Simmons, and TJ Warren are out for Brooklyn, while Marcus Smart is unavailable for Boston.
Can the injured Nets finally notch a victory versus the Celtics? Odds, predictions, key matchups, and starting lineups are below.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics Betting Odds
Boston is a massive favorite here; the spread is -9 Celtics with an ugly -390 moneyline. Brooklyn’s moneyline is +325, and they must win at least 24% of the time for that to be profitable long-term. As for recent history, the Celtics are 5-0 ATS in the last five matchups against the Nets, which helps explain the current line.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics Prediction
-9 is somewhat scary because Brooklyn’s three-point shooting can keep any game close. Therefore, I’m going with a SGP that is -112 on FD and hits more frequently than the traditional spread in my opinion.
- Alternate Spread: Celtics -4.5
- Alternate Total: Under 232.5
The Nets are lacking size without Durant, Simmons, and Warren. As a result, Brooklyn will trot out a small lineup featuring one player over 6’6” – Nic Claxton. The Nets center made a tremendous leap this season and now belongs in the upper echelon of rim protectors and interior defenders; however, he won’t be able to compensate versus a jumbo Celtics squad.
Al Horford and Robert Williams form an elite duo that brings different strengths on both sides of the ball. They can lock down the paint defensively while providing spacing and vertical threats on offense. Royce O’Neale is a sturdy wing defender, but he’s completely overmatched guarding or boxing out either of them. Tatum and Brown are also long, physical wings that can bully Brooklyn’s small lineup on drives while maintaining the quickness to mirror them on defense.
One route the Nets could take is starting 6’9” Morris instead of Curry. The 33-year-old is still unqualified to guard Boston’s forwards though, and the off the dribble loss may be worse than the defensive gain.
Brooklyn’s best chance is scorching the Celtics from deep. They rank 2nd in 3PT% at 39.4%, and the undersized lineup only means more minutes for sharpshooters. Irving, Curry, Harris, O’Neale, and Watanabe can catch fire at any moment, while Mills and Morris are no slouches either. The Nets motto in this game will be “3 is greater than 2”.
Overall, the size difference due to injuries is a death sentence for Brooklyn in this specific matchup. Boston ranks 1st in Adjusted Offensive ShotQuality and 2nd in Adjusted Defensive ShotQuality, so any additional edge makes it exceptionally difficult to win. The Nets high variance play causes slight hesitation though, so the SGP is a safer play to me with the same odds.
- Nets are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall
- Under is 7-2-1 in Nets last 10 road games
- Celtics are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games overall
- Nets are 0-5 ATS in the last 5 meetings
- Under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings
Which team will win the key matchups? Check out below for these vital battles.
Boston will be crashing the glass especially hard this game, so not allowing second chance points is key for Brooklyn. Unfortunately, they have been abysmal this season and rank 30th in opponent offensive rebound rate. Robert Williams owns an elite 12.6 offensive rebounding percentage, so Claxton needs to box him out over Horford.
Kyrie Irving Efficiency
With Durant and Simmons out, self shot creation and playmaking will be lacking. Irving has enormous responsibilities here to both score and find teammates as a result. He luckily dodges an injured Marcus Smart, although Derrick White remains a highly capable defender. If Irving struggles in either department, then Brooklyn’s outlook appears to be grim.
Brooklyn Nets Starting Lineup
Boston Celtics Starting Lineup
Brooklyn Nets Injuries: Kevin Durant (O), Ben Simmons (O), TJ Warren (O), Yuta Watanabe (P)
Boston Celtics Injuries: Marcus Smart (O), Danilo Gallinari (O)