The NBA has a loaded 12-game slate tonight headline by the Celtics at the Hornets and the Suns at the Heat. Boston is safely in the playoffs, as the Celtics sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, though it is still possible that they end up either fourth or sixth. The Celtics are a half game back of the Bulls and a half game in front of the Cavaliers. Both Chicago and Cleveland are dealing with some injury issues. Meanwhile, Charlotte has slid down into a tie for the last playoff spot with the Hawks, who are on the road against the Bucks tonight.
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Celtics Spread (-7.5) Over Hornets; Over 227.5 Points
Boston enters the game pretty healthy and in excellent form as they have won three straight and is 13-2 over their last 15. The Celtics have been excellent on both ends of the floor during this stretch, averaging 116.5 points on 48.5% shooting from the field and 37.5% from beyond the arc. They have also been highly efficient defensively, compiling a rating of 103.2 and a defensive effective field goal percentage of 47.9%. The Celtics have also been dominant on the road recently winning six of their last seven by nearly 20 points a game. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown continue to lead the way for the Celtics while Al Horford and Robert Williams have been very efficient around the rim and have really hit the boards hard.
Charlotte’s playoff hopes have taken since the end of January. The Hornets have lost 14 of their last 19 and are tied with the Hawks for the last spot in the playoff race, just 1 1/2 games in front of the Wizards. Defense continues to be a huge problem for Charlotte as they have given up over 116 points on 46.8% shooting from the field in six post All-Star break games. Terry Rozier continues to pave the way offensively while LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges’ production has remained played steady over the last 15 contests.
Boston has won two of the three matchups against Charlotte this year. The key for Celtics will be rebounding on the defensive end. The Hornets are 12-25 against teams with a .500 or better record as well as 8-16 against the Eastern Conference’s top eight teams.
Bucks Spread (-4.5) Over Hawks
Milwaukee is playing its best basketball since January 1. The Bucks have won five in a row and 10 of 15 as the have been highly efficient on the offensive end, shooting nearly 50% from the field while connecting on over 15 triples at a 39% clip. They do give up a lot of points but their capable of getting the necessary stops. Giannis Antetokounmpo has “killed it” over the last 15 contests, compiling over 31 points and nearly 13 caroms while Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, and Bobby Portis have also played superbly on the offensive end during this stretch. Additionally, Milwaukee has been fantastic at home and dominated teams with sub-.500 records.
Atlanta is coming off a bad yet not surprisingly road loss to Detroit on Monday. The Hawks have struggled mightily on the road this year and they are just 1-12 away from home against the Eastern Conference’s top 8 teams. OddsShopper gives the Bucks a 66% chance of hitting as well as a 57% chance of covering with an expected ROI of 5%.
Clippers Spread Over (-4) Wizards
The Clippers have lost two straight but they are 7-3 over their last 10 games thanks to solid defensive efforts. The Clips own the top ranked defense over the last 10 games as they are holding their opponents to 105.4 points on 44.4% shooting from the field. They have done a great job rebounding the ball as well as not fouling. Offensively, Los Angeles has been getting contributions from a variety of players lately with Reggie Jackson leading the way with a touch over 18 points a contest. Meanwhile, Washington needs to make a push if they want to steal a spot in the Eastern Conference play-in games. The Wizards, who got a boost from Kristaps Porzingis in his debut against the Pacers, sits 1 1/2 games behind both the Hornets and Hawks. Washington has struggled a bit on the road this year. Moreover, the OddsShopper gives the Clippers a 58% chance of covering with an expected ROI of 8%.
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