Celtics face Nets in Round 1 of NBA playoffs
The Celtics travel to Brooklyn to take on the Nets in Round 1 of the NBA playoffs. The Boston squad punched their ticket to the playoffs with a win over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night. On the flip side, the Nets are healthy and ready to take on their Boston rival. Who comes out on top in Game 1? You know what time it is, the breakdown shakedown!
Spread: BKN -8, BOS +8
Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. EST, Barclays Center
The Celtics are in for a very tough series against their rival Brooklyn Nets team. The last-minute good news is Robert Williams III, anticipated to be out, is now listed as PROBABLE for tonight’s first game. Jayson Tatum continues to showcase that he can shoulder the points as he dropped 50 against the Wizards. Kemba Walker is playing ridiculously well and Marcus Smart continues to command the physicality on the court. The key staggering point to make is that the Celtics lost all three regular season games against the Nets.
On the offense, the big duo continues to be Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker. With the continued absence of Jaylen Brown, Walker has stepped up in big ways. Tristan Thompson continues to attack the rim and Robert Williams III should have a big impact tonight as well. As for how the Celtics offense stacks up, they are 16th in total score, 19th in FG%, 11th in 3-pt%, and 15th in total rebounds. The Boston team will need a complete effort tonight and throughout the series if they want to take down a daunting Brooklyn squad.
As for the defense, the Celtics will face Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Blake Griffin. Those are just the big names as the Nets have an entire bench full of clutch players such as Joe Harris and Bruce Brown. The top scorer for the Nets squad in their last head-to-head was in fact Joe Harris with 20 points. The C’s will need to up their game in defending the paint and the rim as the Nets can drive to the bucket effortlessly with their bigs in the game. As for how the defense stacks up, they are 10th in total score, 14th in FG%, 20th in 3-pt%, and 6th in total rebounds.
You have to think the Nets are feeling pretty confident about this series as they took care of business in the regular season against the Celtics. Not to mention this will be the first time against the Celtics this season that the Brooklyn team has all of their star players on the court. Kyrie Irving will be out to impress once again as he faces his former team. With Durant, Harden, and Irving all on the same court, the Nets are sure to drop mega points tonight.
On the offense, all eyes will be on how well the epic trio distributes the ball and takes shots. They do not have a ton of shared court-time experience this season but with that many stars on one team, you have to think they can figure it out. I anticipate a big-night from Irving as he always shows up against his former team and throws digs while doing so. In terms of how the offense stacks up, the Nets are 2nd in total score, 1st in FG%, 2nd in 3-pt%, and 14th in total rebounds.
Flip to the defense, the Nets will take on Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker as the duo continues to attack the bucket and from beyond the arc. In their last head-to-head, Tatum racked up 38 points. The Nets play extremely well in defending the glass as they are 7th-best in the NBA in that category. However, the 3-pt defense could use some work as the Nets can potentially be exposed from that range with shooters like Tatum, Smart, and Walker. As for how the defense stacks up, they are 21st in total score, 7th in FG%, 14th in 3-pt%, and 12th in total rebounds.
ANALYSIS AND BEST BETS
Although there is a clear favorite for tonight’s matchup, I think we see a somewhat close game as the Celtics are notorious for pulling off upsets and playing well in the playoffs. Quick reminder that this is only the first game of the series and regardless of who wins, it will not set the tone the rest of the way. Basketball fans, are you ready for an epic clash in the Eastern Conference tonight?
My first best bet is for Jayson Tatum to post OVER 30.5 points tonight. Tatum needs to take the lead and has proven that he can rack up a ton of points for his Boston team. In his last outing against the Nets he dropped 31 points. Tatum averages 26.4 points per game but is stellar in getting to the line for extra points.
My second best bet is for Kemba Walker to post OVER 24.5 points tonight. Kemba has been electric in his past five games averaging 28 points. He is another versatile shooter in that he can drain 3’s and drive to the bucket with class. To add more fuel to the fire, Kemba is physical and can get to the line at least 4 times a game for those extra points if needed.