Celtics at Warriors NBA Pick for March 5th
Before the season, many would have told you that tonight’s game between the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics could be a potential preview of the NBA Finals. With LeBron James having moved west to join the Los Angeles Lakers, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ dominance over the rest of the Eastern Conference came to an unofficial end.
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While tonight’s game could still be a preview of the Finals, prognosticators won’t be as bullish on the prospect as they may have been prior to the season. Entering play Tuesday, the Celtics sit at 38-26 on the season, which is good for fifth place in the east. Boston won’t miss the playoffs, but at this point they’re closer to the No. 9 spot than they are the No. 1 spot. This is a team many believed would be the league’s best, but it hasn’t met expectations.
The Warriors are still on top out west, but it hasn’t been easy. The 2-time reigning champs are just 2 games clear of the Nuggets for the No. 1 seed. Golden State is the heavy favorite to make it 3 straight championships this season, but they will be tested come playoff time, without question.
The following odds are courtesy of our live odds feed:
|2019 ATS Home||20-14-0||11-19-1|
|2019 ATS Away||11-18-1||14-18-0|
|2019 O/U Home||20-14-0||14-17-0|
|2019 O/U Away||15-15-0||19-13-0|
The Celtics still have a favorable record, but it’s safe to say they are still the league’s most disappointing team this side of the Lakers. Boston just hasn’t looked the part. The Celtics were a game away from making it to the Finals last season with both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward injured. With both players back healthy, and with the team’s young crop one year older, many believed this would be the year the team would take the next step.
While other teams in the conference have done so, the Celts have not. And, interestingly enough, nobody seems to know what’s wrong. Some players have gotten nicked up here and there, but the team hasn’t had to endure the same kinds of long-term injuries we saw last season. Jayson Tatum is still one of the better prospects in basketball, but he hasn’t noticeably improved in any aspect of the game. His shooting percentages are actually way down from where they were a year ago, due in large part to some questionable shot selection.
Al Horford has looked a bit slow at times, which isn’t surprising considering he’ll turn 33 soon. Hayward has been a massive disappointment as he has struggled to regain his pre-injury form. At this point, he’s little more than a bench player maxing out around 20 minutes a night. Not exactly what the Celtics expected when they agreed to pay him $30 million a year in the summer of 2017.
It’s interesting that the Warriors have the worst against-the-spread record in the NBA so far this season. Obviously, that has everything to do with expectations. While the Warriors haven’t been nearly the letdown the Celtics have been, this Golden State team hasn’t blown opponents out as often as we’ve seen in recent seasons. The Warriors have a point differential of plus-6.5 so far this season. While that’s still the second-best mark in the league, it’s a far cry from their plus-11.6 differential from 2 seasons ago.
The addition of DeMarcus Cousins was celebrated over the summer, but Boogie has proven to be something of an awkward fit thus far. He’s just now starting to see minutes in the 30s after tearing his Achilles last January, but the team’s performance has been shaky when he has shared the floor with other stars Steph Curry and Kevin Durant.
It will be interesting to see what kind of a role Cousins plays once the team gets into the postseason. Golden State has reportedly agreed to sign veteran center Andrew Bogut. While I doubt Bogut will factor into the rotation all that much, the move can only be seen as an insurance policy in case the Cousins experiment goes south in a hurry.
Klay Thompson is questionable to play tonight after missing the last game with knee soreness. If he’s out, Alfonzo McKinnie will likely draw another spot start, while Andre Iguodala will see some added burn off the bench. Golden State didn’t even need Thompson’s services in their last game, as they managed to escape Philadelphia with a thrilling 120-117 win.
The Warriors went to Boston and took a 115-111 victory in the only other head-to-head clash between the teams this season back in January. The Celtics will enter tonight’s game having lost 5 of their last 6 overall, with the lone victory coming at the hands of a mediocre Wizards outfit. Boston was beaten at home by James Harden and the Rockets in their last game on Sunday afternoon.
The Warriors have been tough to peg against the spread this season, but given the Celtics’ woes and the fact that this will be Golden State’s first home game in a while I do like them to cover. It’s always a risky bet, especially considering a 7-point spread is fairly sizable for the NBA, but a 7-point spread looks downright tiny considering some of the numbers Vegas has slapped on the Warriors in recent years.
I think Golden State covers the spread tonight and picks up a fairly easy win, even if Thompson misses a second consecutive game. Bet Golden State in this one.
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