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WATCH Celtics vs Nets NBA Live Stream [basketball]
Boston Celtics vs Brooklyn Nets NBA
The Nets host the Celtics Friday night in the third and final meeting between these teams this season. The Nets won the first two matchups 123-95 on Christmas and 121-109 on March 11th.
The Celtics have won seven of their last eight games after beating the Suns 99-86 on Friday while the Nets are coming off of a 114-103 loss to the Raptors on Wednesday.
Can Tatum and Smart carry the Celtics with Walker Likely Out?
If the Celtics win and cover, they will need Jayson Tatum to continue elevating his game while at least one of Marcus Smart or Kemba Walker plays well. Jaylen Brown (shoulder) is questionable while Evan Fournier (health and safety protocols), Robert Williams III (knee), and Kemba Walker (rest) are all doubtful to play Friday.
Tatum and Jaylen Brown are having career seasons as the All-Star duo has scored with above-average efficiency (among their respective position groups, per Cleaning The Glass) at the rim, in the midrange, and from beyond the arc. Both scored at least 40 points in the Celtics’ last two games while continuing to play solid defense. Tatum continues to impress as he improves his all-around game with more moves to get to the basket while making strides as a distributor. Brown’s presence would be a big boost for the Celtics on Friday, especially if Walker is out on Friday with rest.
The Celtics will need quality point guard play to elevate the play of role players. Walker is not only valuable as a scorer, but he also puts pressure on the defense by forcing them to stretch the floor and makes reads off of the defense to give teammates like bigs and shooters quality looks that they cannot otherwise get for themselves. He has been at his best in April as the Celtics have won eight of the nine games he has played in this month. Boston’s bench has gotten exposed without Gordon Hayward this season, and the bench will need Marcus Smart, Tatum, and other ball-handlers to gstep up and elevate role players’ level of play with Fournier and Williams likely out due to
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Can Irving Lead the Nets to a Win and Cover?
If the Nets cover as home favorites, they will need Kyrie Irving to play at a high level and shooters Joe Harris and Landry Shamet to step up. Kevin Durant (thigh) is questionable to play Friday while Tyler Johnson (knee) is doubtful, and Nicolas Claxton (health and safety protocols) is out. Chris Chiozza (hand) and James Harden (hamstring) remain out indefinitely. If Durant is available, his elite scoring would obviously be a huge boost for the Nets and would take some pressure off of Irving, Harris, and Shamet as scorers.
The Nets will need Irving to continue playing his best basketball after scoring a combined 60 points over the last two games. Irving has been efficient as a scorer and distributor, and the Nets won’t have a chance to win without a strong performance from him as Harden remains out. He will face a challenge against Smart, but Irving is one of the best shotmakers with limited space in the league, and his handle is the best in the sport.
Joe Harris has led the Nets from beyond the arc as his 48% accuracy from beyond the arc ranks in the 97th percentile among wings while doing so on high volume. Landry Shamet has increased his of the last six games, including a career-high 30-point performance against the Heat on Sunday.
The Nets will also need other role players to play well to pull the upset. DeAndre Jordan and Jeff Green must put pressure on the rim and can give the Nets easy buckets when the defense over-commits to stop Irving and shooters. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Bruce Brown, and Shamet give the Nets defensive versatility, and they will need to step up against the likes of Tatum and Smart when the Celtics drive to the basket.
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Celtics are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight-up win of more than 10 points.
Celtics are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games playing on 0 days rest.
Nets are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS loss.
Nets are 13-6 ATS in their last 19 games vs. a team with a winning straight-up record.
Nets are 5-0 ATS in the last 5 meetings in Brooklyn.
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As long as Walker is out, take the Nets to win and cover as they are rested while the Celtics play in the second leg of a back-to-back. While Tatum has played great basketball this season, he has been in a mini-slump this week as he has made a combined six of 34 shots while averaging just 14.5 points over the last two games. He will neeed to step up for the Celtics to be competitive, but even if he does, the Celtics won’t have enough playmaking without Walker to pull the upset.