The NBA’s Atlantic Division is easily the best five-team grouping in the Eastern Conference this season. Four of the five teams are above .500 and those same four teams also rank as top-six seeds in the Eastern Conference.
Two Atlantic teams, the 27-23 Brooklyn Nets and 30-19 Boston Celtics, will square off in Boston today (7:30 p.m. ET Monday).
Boston is the much better team on paper, especially factoring in Brooklyn’s injuries. However, it’s the Nets who come in with a six-game winning streak on the strength of their rebounding and strong team play on both sides of the ball.
In this NBA game preview we will analyze the factors that might affect the outcome of Monday’s game before we announce our Brooklyn Nets vs Boston Celtics predictions for this matchup.
Can Theo Pinson and Shabazz Napier Continue to Step Up?
The Nets will be without Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert and Allen Crabbe, and Joe Harris and Treveon Graham are questionable. That is potentially a lot of scoring punch that will be missing from the squad.
Against the New York Knicks in their most recent game, the Nets got surprising scoring performances from Pinson (19 points) and Napier (18 points) off the bench to boost Brooklyn to a 109-99 win.
The Celtics have much more name recognition than the Nets coming off their bench, with the likes of Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier playing as reserves. However, Boston’s reserves still have yet to figure out their chemistry this season.
This game is another opportunity for Pinson and Napier to prove their mettle in a rivalry matchup.
Will Jarrett Allen and Ed Davis Be Big Factors on the Glass?
This is the area where Brooklyn will have to shine tonight if it wants to win. The Nets will be missing a lot of their scoring punch against a very good Celtics defense. The chances of Brooklyn shooting a high percentage in this game are low.
Therefore, the Nets’ focus this game should be on maximizing their own possessions and limiting those of the Celtics. Allen has a wingspan longer than 7’5” and uses it to his advantage as a rebounder. Davis, Allen’s backup, is one of the NBA’s top men on the glass thanks to his energy, length, athleticism and technique. Their rebounding has been a big part of Brooklyn’s win streak. In the last six games, the Nets have outrebounded opponents by an average of 10.8 boards per game.
Boston doesn’t have any elite rebounders in its rotation. Allen and Davis are better than anyone on the Celtics and they will need to demonstrate that with big rebounding games today.
Will Boston’s Three-Point Shooting Stay Consistent?
The Celtics have a lot of good outside shooters on their team. Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Marcus Smart and Marcus Morris are all hitting the three ball with good volume and accuracy this season. Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier also have had their moments from the outside.
Earlier in the year, shots from behind the arc weren’t falling as well for the Celtics, but now they are. Boston has a remarkable six-game streak of shooting 37.5 percent or better from three-point range. The Celtics have made an average of 13.7 long balls in that stretch at an overall clip of 42.1 percent.
The Nets have a below-average defense, but their three-point defense is a strength. Let’s see if Boston can still find ways to manufacture quality looks from deep to capitalize on a hot stretch of shooting.
Our Preview’s Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics Predictions & Betting Picks
The Nets are quite banged up, but I think their advantage on the boards could be a big factor in this game. Also, the team is deep, so the core of D’Angelo Russell, Jarrett Allen, Rodions Kurucs, Shabazz Napier, Ed Davis, DeMarre Carroll and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson should still do some damage even if everyone else is out.
Expect a narrow Celtics win and a low-scoring game as a result of Brooklyn’s offensive rebounding slowing down the pace of the game. These are the Brooklyn Nets vs Boston Celtics predictions for this preview:
- Boston is a 10 or 10.5 point favorite with every major USA betting site. Your best bet here is taking the Nets +10.5pts @ -110 with Bovada, Bookmaker or Intertops.
- As I mentioned earlier, the Nets’ offensive rebounding will slow this game down. Brooklyn will also keep its pace slower to minimize the loss of some of its more explosive scoring options. I think taking the under 221pts @ best odds of -105 with Bovada is a nice bet.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.