The Boston Celtics (39-27, 32-31-3 ATS) hit the road to take on the Charlotte Hornets (32-34, 35-29-2 ATS) on Wednesday night. Boston will be looking to win their fourth straight, while the Hornets are hoping to bounce back after an ugly loss against the Brooklyn Nets.
According to the online sports book Betonline.ag, the Boston Celtics are 7.5-point favorites:
- Point Spread: Boston Celtics -7.5
- Over-Under: 225.5 points
- Money line: Boston Celtics -300, Charlotte Hornets +250
The only player listed on Boston’s injury report is Aaron Nesmith, who sprained his ankle against the Memphis Grizzlies last week.
Charlotte has two players listed as out ahead of Wednesday night’s contest. Rookie James Bouknight is out with a neck injury and former-Celtics Gordon Hayward is still out as he continues to deal with a sprained left ankle.
Predicted Starting Lineups
G: Marcus Smart
G: Derrick White
F: Jayson Tatum
F: Al Horford
C: Robert Williams
G: LaMelo Ball
G: Terry Rozier
F: Miles Bridges
F: PJ Washington
C: Mason Plumlee
Boston Celtics Overview
The Celtics are back on track after a slight hiccup against the Indiana Pacers not too long ago. In fact, they are coming off of what many consider to be their best win of the season. Boston took down Brooklyn, with Jayson Tatum outdueling Kevin Durant at TD Garden. Tatum dropped 54 points, marking his highest scoring total of the season, leading the C’s to a 126-120 victory.
Boston now sits at fifth in the Eastern Conference, but a win today would put them in a tie for fourth with the Chicago Bulls. In addition, they are only two games back of the Philadelphia 76ers in second and five games out of first, which has been wrapped up fairly tightly by the Miami Heat. The Celtics have 16 games left in the regular season.
Charlotte Hornets Overview
Charlotte has been one of the more streaky teams in the NBA this season. They got off to a hot start, went cold, started winning again, and now find themselves down in the dumps. The Hornets are 4-6 in their last 10 games, but in the month of February, they went a staggering 2-10. And while most would assume their defense was at fault, it was actually a major shooting slump that paved the way for their struggles.
Now, a team once firmly in the mix for a top-six seed in the East finds itself fighting for merely a play-in spot. The Hornets are currently ninth in the East but tied with the tenth-place Atlanta Hawks. They are one whole game behind the Nets in eighth, and 6.5 games out of sixth place, which is almost certainly not a realistic probability anymore for them. Plus, the Washington Wizards are only 1.5 games behind them in 11th.
Charlotte is one of the faster-paced teams in the league, so it’s crucial that the C’s get back on defense. Anytime they miss a shot or turn the ball over, all five guys need to be sprinting back in transition. With LaMelo Ball orchestrating the fastbreak and Miles Bridges running alongside him, it can make for some easy buckets. If the Hornets are out and running, Boston’s defense needs to be as well.
In turn, this means the Celtics have to do a better job at taking care of the basketball. Against Memphis, the Celtics turned the ball over an abhorrent number of times, and it almost cost them the game. They cut that number down against the Nets, and rightfully so. It’s going to make life very difficult if they are giving the ball up at will, especially against a team like the Hornets, who thrive in transition.
Lastly, let’s see Jaylen Brown take things up a notch. He returned from his ankle injury against the Nets, and it was clear that he wasn’t quite himself. Brown didn’t play poorly, by any means, but he was a bit hesitant. This is totally understandable, considering how ugly his ankle injury looked against the Hawks, but seeing him get back to being himself would be awesome.
Boston Celtics 117, Charlotte Hornets 106
TIP-OFF: 7:00 p.m. @ Spectrum Center
RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub
TV: NBC Sports Boston