The Boston Celtics (38-27, 32-31-2 ATS) continue their homestand on Sunday afternoon, welcoming the Brooklyn Nets (32-32, 24-39-1 ATS) to TD Garden. Boston is hoping to win their third game in a row, while Brooklyn will look to snap a three-game skid.
According to the online sports book Betonline.ag, the Boston Celtics are 5.5-point favorites:
- Point Spread: Boston Celtics -5.5
- Over-Under: 225 points
- Money line: Boston Celtics -215, Brooklyn Nets +185
The Celtics have two players listed on their injury report. Jaylen Brown is questionable as he works his way back from an ankle sprain, and Aaron Nesmith is out after he too sprained his ankle in Boston’s win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Meanwhile, the Nets have three players designated with injuries, and two players out on G-League assignments. David Duke Jr. and Day’Ron Sharpe won’t be with the team, as they will be in the G-League. As for the other three guys, Seth Curry (ankle) is questionable and both Joe Harris (ankle) and Ben Simmons (back) are out.
Predicted Starting Lineups
G: Marcus Smart
G: Derrick White
F: Jayson Tatum
F: Al Horford
C: Robert Williams
G: Kyrie Irving
G: Patty Mills
F: Kevin Durant
F: James Johnson
C: Andre Drummond
Boston Celtics Overview
The Celtics picked up what many consider to be their biggest win of the season on Thursday night when they took down the red-hot Grizzlies. They managed to effectively shut down Ja Morant throughout the entire first half, as they simply let him shoot threes at will. Boston’s defense has not only been elite but it’s been able to adapt to any player put in front of it. (Except Oshae Brisset.)
Boston is now 38-27 on the season and has officially moved up to fifth in the Eastern Conference, passing the slumping Cleveland Cavaliers. They are only 1.5 games out of the third seed and just two games behind the two-seeded Philadelphia 76ers. And the best part is, the Celtics are now officially closer to that second seed than they are to the play-in.
Brooklyn Nets Overview
While the Celtics may be in a great spot, the Nets most certainly are not. They are a disappointing 32-32 on the season, currently placing them at eighth in the Eastern Conference. Brooklyn is a full 2.5 games back of the seventh-seeded Toronto Raptors, yet just half a game up on both the Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks who sit at ninth and tenth, respectively.
That being said, Brooklyn did just get some serious reinforcements. Kevin Durant made his return to the court against the Miami Heat on Thursday night, dropping 31 points in the process. While the Nets lost the game, having Durant on the court will undoubtedly help them moving forward. Brooklyn is 24-13 this year when Durant is in action.
Obviously, the first key to victory for Boston should be to contain Durant. He’s going to be the best player on the court whenever he’s out there, and just as Boston’s defense put a focus on both Morant and Joel Embiid, they need to do the same for Durant. What that game plan is unknown, but Ime Udoka and the Celtics better have one ready.
Second, and almost just as important, is that Boston needs to account for their old friend Kyrie Irving. This will be the first time Irving plays at TD Garden since last season when the two teams faced off in the postseason. As much as C’s fans may not like him, he’s going to be very difficult to stop. Boston needs to pay attention to him just as much as they need to pay attention to Durant.
Finally, this is Jayson Tatum’s time to shine. Even if Jaylen Brown does end up playing, a big performance from Tatum would go a long, long way. Despite their record, the Nets are still one of the scariest teams in the league when healthy. As great as Boston’s defense is, they’re going to need some offensive production, too. And that all starts with Tatum.
Boston Celtics 113, Brooklyn Nets 104
TIP-OFF: 1:00 p.m. @ TD Garden
RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub