Charlotte Hornets (28-33) at Boston Celtics (43-19)
Last night was a bit of a head-scratching loss. We backed the Denver Nuggets at home, where they have been absolutely elite this season, against a Clippers team that should be playing for the lottery and not the playoffs. The Nuggets led the entire game before just laying down in the fourth quarter on their home floor.
It made absolutely no sense. You have a Clippers team, that despite managements best efforts, keep managing to win games, playing against a Denver team that badly wants to break through and make the playoffs this season. As I said yesterday, teams tank games, players don’t, and that is what happened last night.
Lou Williams had a huge game off the bench, scoring 25 points and led the Clippers to an unlikely victory as the Clips were playing without two of their key starters. After seeing the lineup the Clippers ended up having to play, I like Denver even more! But what can you do, that is why they play the games I guess.
Today I will shift focus from two teams struggling to make the playoffs, to a team that is trying to lock up the top seed in the Eastern Conference, as the Boston Celtics host the Charlotte Hornets.
The Charlotte Hornets will travel to Boston to play the Celtics Wednesday night. The Hornets are playing the best basketball they have all year long, winners of five straight. They played last night and won 118-103 against the Chicago Bulls to keep the win streak intact.
For Boston, the Celtics have won three straight themselves and find themselves just a half of a game back of Toronto for the one seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Celtics are -7.5-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 208 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 PM PST from the TD Boston Garden.
The Boston Celtics needed the All-Star break this year. They spent almost the entire first half of the season running away with the Eastern Conference and stumbled a bit down the stretch. Boston lost three out of their last four games before the All-Star break and let the Toronto Raptors pass them up for the top seed in the East.
The Celtics look rested and reinvigorated since the break and have won all three games since the week off. They have played a fairly easy slate of games in that stretch as they hold wins over Detroit, Memphis, and the Knicks, but in the NBA, wins are wins, and the Celtics badly want that number one seed. They will need to take care of business tonight at home against a Hornets team that has seemingly started to figure things out this year.
The Charlotte Hornets aren’t going to make the playoffs this year. They are four games back of even the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. But that hasn’t stopped this team from playing hard, which is quite refreshing.
The rest of the bottom feeders in the league are racing to the bottom in a desperate attempt to move up the draft board after the season. It is an epidemic that is plaguing the NBA. Teams are actively trying to lose every night. And the Hornets aren’t doing that and I for one, applaud them for it.
That being said, this is a really tough spot for Charlotte. They played last night and are forced to play a back to back tonight, on the road no less. That is a tough spot for any team. Throw in the fact that they have to play the best team in their conference in the Boston Celtics? Now you have a recipe for disaster. The Celtics are well rested and are hell-bent on catching Toronto and locking up that top seed.
I don’t see a team as talented and as well coached as these Celtics letting an easy win like tonight slip away. Yeah, the Hornets are hot right now, but if you take a closer look at that winning streak, it really isn’t all that impressive. Wins against Orlando, Brooklyn, Washington without John Wall, Detroit, and Chicago don’t give me too much confidence in this team. It was a nice stretch of the schedule, and they took advantage of it. But tonight, that schedule bites back and is setting them up for failure.
This is more situational betting for me. I get to back the best team in the East, sorry Toronto but Boston is the more talented squad, against a bad team that is forced to play the back end of a back to back on the road. This feels like a blowout. I hate laying so much wood, but I see Boston coasting to a double-digit victory tonight at home.
Give me the Boston Celtics -7.5-points tonight from the Garden!