The Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers are scheduled to tip-off on Tuesday night at the Moda Center in Portland. The Celtics enter Portland on a three-game winning streak. They’ve beaten the Knicks, 101-99, Timberwolves, 145-146 OT, and most recently the Nuggets, 105-87, on Sunday. Those are three impressive wins for the Celtics, especially that beatdown of a solid Nuggets team. Jaylen Brown showed up for 20 points and 8 rebounds, while Jayson Tatum had a big night with 28 points and 10 boards. Evan Fournier was absent, and he is expected to be out for health and safety protocol tonight as well.
The most impressive aspect of that win for the Celtics is how they held the Nuggets to only 87 points. It’s not easy in this era of the NBA to hold any team below 90 points, never mind the Nuggets on the road in Denver. If you’ve awakened out of a 15-year coma recently and were used to watching the Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs play in the mid-2000’s, then that statement might sound a bit bizarre. The Pistons held teams under 80 points on the regular. Boston looked like an old school defense against Denver in that game, though.
With the win, the Celtics advance to 28-26 on the season. That’s not what the Celtics envisioned happening this year. They had aspirations to compete for the Eastern Conference title, and at this point are just fighting hard to get into the postseason. There is still talent on the Celtics, though. I wouldn’t want to be the team that gets rewarded as a high seed with having to play the Celtics in the first-round. That doesn’t seem fair. In any case, the top-3 in the East, consisting of the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphia 76ers have all been vastly better and more consistent than the Celtics this season.
The Trail Blazers are coming off a discouraging effort against the Miami Heat on Sunday night? Was I complaining? No, I was on the Heat, so it was great to see. The Heat defense was too much, as they pulled away for a 107-98 win in Portland. The Blazers were on a back-to-back in that game after dismantling the Pistons on Saturday night, 118-103. Detroit is a pesky team that has given some quality opponents fits this season, so it was a pretty good effort from the Blazers. They go into tonight with a record of 31-22 and sixth in the West. Head below for our free Celtics vs. Trail Blazers pick on April 13, 2021.
Boston Celtics vs. Portland Trail Blazers NBA Betting Odds:
Celtics vs. Trail Blazers Prediction:
This is the third straight Trail Blazers game that I’ve handicapped. We’ve gone a perfect 2-0 against the Pistons and Heat, with the Blazers covering and Heat covering for us. The Trail Blazers had nothing left in the tank to play a physical Heat defense after beating the Pistons. It was clear they were exhausted, and if they had two nights of rest like the Heat it would have been a closer final score. The Blazers’ offense, which is typically one of the better units in the NBA, looks sluggish and slow against the Heat.
It has typically been the exception for them this season, though. The Blazers are seventh in the league with 114.7 points per game. They are solid from three, with a percentage from deep of 38%, and the Blazers hit their free throws. Portland is second in the league with a free throw percentage of 82.9%. Conversely, the Celtics are 21st, connecting at a 77.1% clip. I’m expecting Portland to come out with a much more focused effort after sleepwalking against the Heat.
Note that the Celtics are 15th with an average of 112.4 points scored per contest. They’ve been incredibly inconsistent with their scoring. Overall on the season, the Celtics have conceded an average of 110.4 points per game for 10th in the NBA. When you’re scoring and allowing about the same, a record of 28-26 makes plenty of sense. The Celtics are playing better basketball lately, with wins in five of their last six outings. However, after the big win over the Nuggets, I could see them getting too comfortable on the road, where they’ve struggled with a record of 11-16. The Blazers to win by a bucket at home looks like a good deal in the NBA on Tuesday night.