The Phoenix Suns are on the east coast for a meeting with the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on Thursday night. This is the third game on the road for the Suns in three games. Following this contest against the Celtics, the Suns will head to Brooklyn and NYC to close out this five-game road trip. It’s not an easy road trip by any means for the Suns. They opened with a 128-127 win in overtime against the Milwaukee Bucks in overtime, and then followed up with another close win in a 116-113 final against the Philadelphia 76ers last night. The Suns go to Boston on a back-to-back following the win in Philadelphia.
Chris Paul had a standout performance for the Suns, as he led the team with 28 points and 8 assists. You look at the improvements that the Suns have made defensively, and the contributions that Paul has made in Phoenix, and you have a team that can win the Western Conference. The Suns continue to trail the Utah Jazz, and weren’t able to gain any ground last night despite a nice win against the 76ers. The Jazz blew out the Houston Rockets by a score of 112-89. That was too easy for the Jazz against an uninterested Rockets team. Meanwhile, the Suns had a tough assignment against the 76ers.
The Suns have had to work hard for their two wins on the road, and it’s not going to get any easier in the next three games on this road trip. They will take on the Nets and Knicks after this stop in Boston, so it’s likely going to be difficult to sweep the road trip. And when they head back home next Wednesday, the Los Angeles Clippers are going to be waiting for them in the desert. Following that matchup, another critical matchup awaits, this time against the Jazz. In other words, this is a brutal stretch for the Suns, in what appears to be the most difficult part of the schedule.
Boston is coming off a tough loss against the Chicago Bulls, 102-96. That was a big letdown spot for the Celtics, and we had it right when we backed the Bulls as an underdog. The Celtics were fresh off an exciting win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night, 119-114, and a six-game winning streak. Marcus Smart made his return to the floor, but Kemba Walker stayed out against the Bulls. Walker is listed as probable to play tonight, though Jayson Tatum is questionable. The expectations are that Tatum will play, but it’s something to keep an eye on. Head below for our free Suns vs. Celtics pick on April 22, 2021.
Phoenix Suns vs. Boston Celtics NBA Betting Odds:
Suns vs. Celtics Prediction:
The Celtics had their letdown game against the Bulls on Tuesday night. Could this be a role reversal of sorts and now it’s the Suns turn? They haven’t taken many nights off this season. The Suns have a record of 42-16 and 1.5 games behind the Jazz for the lead in the West. However, on a road trip far away from home, and a back-to-back, it’s hard to believe that the Suns aren’t going to slow down just a bit.
That might be enough to give the Celtics an opportunity to pull off the upset at home. It wouldn’t be much of an upset, though. People have short memories, and seem to only be taking the Celtics’ effort against the Bulls into consideration. What about the previous six games before the loss? This is coming from someone that was confident in the Bulls against the Celtics.
The Celtics were on a six-game winning streak, and had wins in eight of their previous nine outings. Everyone was referring to the Celtics as the dark horse to watch out for in the East, as they finally hit their stride. The loss against the Bulls flipped public perception pretty fast. In any event, the Celtics have shown nice improvement in form recently despite the loss. The defense has stepped up in particular, with just 106.2 points against in their previous five games.
If you want to beat the Suns, defense is required and the Celtics have been showing improved aggression defensively. With Marcus Smart back in the lineup, that can only help the Celtics’ defense down the stretch in the regular season. Kemba Walker is expected back after missing the matchup versus the Bulls. He’s faced criticism for inconsistent play this season, but his absence in the lineup was clear. The Suns haven’t been unbeatable on the road this season. They’re 19-7 and have posted some average numbers as an opponent.
The Suns have netted 112.8 points, while allowing 108.8 points per game on the road this season. That hasn’t left much room for error, and they’ve been involved in some close games as a visitor. In their previous five outings, the Suns have scored 111.4 points and conceded 110.2 points per game. While they’ve won four, there have been some close calls. On a back-to-back against a Celtics team coming off an ugly loss, this looks like too many points to lay on the Suns.