Entering the Celtics’ In-Season Tournament group-play game versus the Chicago Bulls last Tuesday night, they needed both a Nets win over the Toronto Raptors and a 23+ point themselves in order to advance to the knockout round.
Somehow, both happened, and they’re now the favorites to win the entire IST according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Here are the odds:
NBA In-Season Tournament Winner 2023-2024
Boston Celtics +330
Milwaukee Bucks +350
Sacramento Kings +490
Los Angeles Lakers +600
Phoenix Suns +600
Boston ended up winning the game by 27, and it rubbed everyone, the Celtics and Bulls alike, the wrong way.
“We didn’t know we were gonna be in that position to win the game,” Boston’s head coach Joe Mazzulla said following the win when asked about ‘running up the score’ against Billy Donovan’s Bulls. “When we got to that point, I felt like it was time to execute and put ourself in position to advance.”
“I took in all the information,” he continued. “I didn’t handle it emotionally and I sat and stored it in whatever part of my brain that stores information, and I waited to see if I was going to need it or not. I don’t know going into a game that we’re gonna be up 23, we could be down 15 because that’s a distraction, because we’re trying to be up 23, and you’re gonna be like, was your team distracted by the 23-point lead? … our team was focused on winning.”
“It’s tough because that’s just not how the game is supposed to be played,” Celtics forward Jaylen Brown said following their win versus Chicago. “One, you gotta respect your opponents, and two, it’s just a weird set-up… But if I was another team I would be upset that we were doing the hack-a-Drummond in the fourth quarter as well.”
Luckily, now that Boston’s qualified for the knockout round, there are no more point differentials to worry about. Just win and advance.
Speaking of the knockout round, the Celtics are headed to Indiana on Monday to take on the Pacers in the In-Season Tournament Quarterfinals. Here are the odds according to FanDuel:
In-Season Tournament Quarterfinals – Celtics vs. Pacers
Spread: Celtics -4.5
Moneyline: Celtics -186/Pacers +154
Total: O/U 238.5
Want a pick? Take the Celtics -4.5. They seem to care about winning this thing.