By: Emily Musella
Celtics clash with Magic tonight for Wednesday NBA action!
The Boston Celtics travel to Orlando tonight to take on the Magic. The Celtics are coming off a devastating loss to the Portland Trail Blazers and now find themselves in 7th place in the Eastern Conference standings. On the flip side, the Magic secured a W over the Detroit Pistons Monday night and will look to capture another victory tonight against the Boston team. Will the Celtics bounceback with a win tonight, or will the Magic put on a show and snag the homecourt W? You know what time it is , the breakdown shakedown!
Odds: BOS -9.5, ORL+9.5
Tip-off: May 5th, 7:00 p.m. EST, Amway Center
The Boston Celtics are in dire need of a victory tonight as they fell down to 7th place in the Eastern Conference standings. With only seven games left in the regular season, now would be a good time for the C’s to make a winning streak happen. On the injury front, as of right now Jaylen Brown is listed as OUT, Jayson Tatum is PROBABLE, Kemba Walker is PROBABLE after missing a string of games, and Tristan Thompson is QUESTIONABLE.
On the offense, the Celtics come into Orlando ranking 16th in total score, 15th in FG%, 9th in 3-pt%, and 12th in total rebounds. The return of Kemba Walker is huge because he missed the last four games. As for the Celtics bench, the emergence of Aaron Nesmith has been incredible and head coach Brad Stevens has nothing but good things to say about the young player. Evan Fournier has stepped up from beyond the arc and Payton Pritchard continues to shine from all points on the court. In their last head-to-head the C’s offense snagged the 112-96 victory. The lead scorer of that matchup though was Jaylen Brown, so I anticipate Jayson Tatum to carry the point-load tonight.
On the flip side, the defense played superbly last time against the Magic as their lead scorer was Nikola Vucevic who is now on the Chicago Bulls. The C’s also catch a massive break as the Magic team will be without five players tonight due to injuries. In terms of how the Celtics defense stacks up, they are 12th in total score, 14th in FG%, 22nd in 3-pt%, and 6th in total rebounds. The most noticeable weak spot continues to be defending the 3-point game. Look for the C’s to keep the Magic on their heels the entire game as they will attempt to take advantage of a heavily depleted Magic offense.
The Orlando Magic host a rather desperate and near-full strength Boston Celtics squad tonight. Despite the lengthy injury report, the Magic have managed to win their last two games but still sit in 13th place in the Western Conference standings. Players that have stepped up recently are Cole Anthony, Dwayne Bacon, and Moritz Wagner.
On the offense, the Magic stack up against the C’s with 29th in total score, 30th in FG%, 27th in 3-point%, and 8th in total rebounds. Though the rankings are not as prolific and daunting as the opposition, make no mistake that the Magic can put on a show if they are shooting efficiently. I anticipate a big night for Anthony, Wagner, and Bacon as the trio will need to carry a depleted Magic squad.
On the flip side, the Magic defense ranks 17th in total score, 21st in FG%, 19th in 3-point%, and 26th in total rebounds. The big red flag for the Magic defense is the lack of attack on the rebounds. The Orlando squad will face the epic trio of Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, and Marcus Smart. Though the team catches a huge break with Jaylen Brown OUT tonight, they will need to watch out for a recently surging Celtics bench. The fourth quarter will also be of peak interest considering the Orlando defense is 29th in scoring defense during that quarter.
ANALYSIS AND BEST BETS
Though the records of both teams clearly favor one side, I do anticipate a close game tonight considering the Celtics have had trouble shutting down depleted teams this season. I believe Jayson Tatum will shine tonight and carry the points load for the Celtics side, and I see Dwayne Bacon making a huge impact for the Magic tonight.
My first best bet is for Kemba Walker to post OVER 18.5 points tonight. When Kemba misses a string of games, he tends to come back in an impactful way. Kemba averages 18.2 points per game this season but has a knack for getting to the free-throw line at least three-to-four times a game. Look for Walker to make a big splash tonight!
My second best bet is for Jayson Tatum to post OVER 2.5 3-pointers tonight. Tatum has simply been electric the past few games and I don’t see him slowing down any time soon. He currently shoots 39% from the 3-point range and in his past few games has made 4 or more 3-pointers. Look for Tatum to find more success tonight beyond the arc!