April 17, 2021

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Dallas Mavericks (-1) vs. Boston Celtics: Preview, Prediction, & Best Bets – 3/31/2021

By: Emily Musella

Celtics host the Mavericks for Wednesday night NBA action! 

The Boston Celtics take on the Dallas Mavericks tonight at the Garden. The Celtics are coming off a devastating loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night. Meanwhile, the Mavericks dominated the Oklahoma City Thunder and are ready to face the Celtics and their rowdy 2,500 fans. Can the Boston team secure their first home win with fans in the stands, or will Luka Doncic and Co. spoil Boston’s chances? You know what time it is, the breakdown shakedown! 

Odds: DAL -1, BOS +1 

Over/Under: 224.5

Tip-off: March 31st, 7:30 p.m. EST, TD Garden 

DALLAS MAVERICKS 

The Dallas Mavericks sit at 7th place in the Western Conference after their Monday night win over the OKC Thunder. As always, the dominant and versatile force for the Mavs continues to be Luka Doncic as he posted 25 points and 7 assists on Monday. Right behind Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis racked up 20 points and 5 assists. Though the Mavs secured the W, their 3-point game was pretty weak as they only shot for 36.4%. In their last matchup against the Celtics, Doncic drained a deep 3-pointer in the final seconds to pull off the victory. 

Offensively, the Mavs are 17th in total score, 11th in FG success, and 19th in 3-point success. I anticipate a big night from Doncic, Porzingis, and bench player Tim Hardaway Jr. On the road this season, the Dallas team is 13-11. 

On the defense, the Dallas squad will need to do a better job in containing Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown who combined for 57 points in their last matchup. Marcus Smart will face the Mavs for the first time this season tonight as well. The Mavs typically surrender 111 points per game and are 10th best in the NBA against FG shots. The most versatile player  to watch out for on the C’s though is veteran Kemba Walker. Can the Mavs storm TD Garden and leave with a W? 

BOSTON CELTICS 

The Celtics are coming off a devastating loss to the Pelicans on Monday night. After storming back late in the 4th quarter, the C’s simply could not finish the game out successfully. New trade acquisition Luke Kornet impressed though with 10 points in just 13 minutes of court-time. The Celtics sit at 7th place in the tight Eastern Conference standings. Can the Boston team get their first win with fans in the stands tonight?

Offensively, we have seen the Jay’s regain their shooting momentum at the right time in the season. Meanwhile, Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart continue to showcase their court leadership skills and versatile shooting expertise. We even see bench players like Aaron Nesmith and Payton Prichard climbing up the rookie ranks. The C’s rank 16th in total score, 13th in FG success, and 9th in 3-point success. If Brown and Smart start draining 3’s, it could be the leverage needed to secure a W over the Mavs. 

On the defense, the Celtics will continue to struggle with Luka Doncic as he is simply too much to handle for any NBA team. However, Kristaps Porzingis was not available for their last matchup in February, so he is a big target the C’s will need to limit the damage with. In terms of defending the 3-point game, outside of Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr. is the other big 3-point shooter to look out for. As always, the biggest issues on defense are points in the paint surrendered and giving up way too many points in the 4th quarter. Can the Celtics step up their game tonight against a stout Mavericks squad?   

ANALYSIS AND BEST BETS 

The Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks gave their fans an incredible matchup back in February. I anticipate another close game between these two elite squads and for the bench players to step up immensely for both of their respected teams. 

My first best bet is for Luka Doncic to post OVER 3.5  3-pointers tonight. Doncic is dynamite from the 3-point range and in his previous matchup against the Celtics he went 6-8 from that range. I feel confident that Doncic will have a repeat performance tonight as well and comfortably secure the OVER 3.5. 

My second best bet is for Tim Hardaway Jr. to post OVER 15.5 points tonight. On the season, he averages nearly 17 points per game, has heavily contributed to the Mavs success, and his 3-point game has been on fire lately. I feel confident that Hardaway Jr. will definitely hit his OVER tonight.