The end of an era hit on Sunday when Marcus Smart’s shot near the rim just fell off and did not fall through as the horn sounded against the Kings, as the Boston Celtics’ 10-game winning streak that began following an opening-night loss finally reached its conclusion in the form of a 100-99 defeat. Boston had plenty of bright spots in that game, and though they fell to a depleted team, the effort was there after the Celtics trailed by 12 points after the first quarter. The Celtics will try to start another streak when they take on the Phoenix Suns on Monday night.
Phoenix, on the other hand, is looking like a team that we need to start taking seriously. They have had one of the toughest schedules this season and yet are sitting comfortably at 7-4, despite 10 games without 2018 No. 1 overall pick, DeAndre Ayton. The whole squad has bought in to the importance of playing tight defense under new coach Monty Williams, and they seem like a bunch that we need to take seriously. Aron Baynes has brought toughness to this group, as well as surprisingly impressive scoring and rebounding numbers in his increased role.
The spread for Monday night’s game favors the home Suns by 2.5 points, while the over/under is set at 227. The moneyline on Boston is +118, while it is set at -138 for Phoenix.
Boston Looking To Start A New Streak
While Gordon Hayward continues to sit with his hand injury, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Smart continue to hold it down along the wings. The one issue this team has is with bench production, as in some games, they’ll have guys step up, but in others, it all has to come from the starters. That is the kind of thing that happens when you regularly have four of your eight active reserves as rookies. Kemba Walker is leading the way with 24 points per game, as he has shown an extreme comfort level in his new home.
Daniel Theis and Robert Williams have done a tremendous job of finishing lobs around the rim, in addition to protecting it on the other end of the floor.
Phoenix Trying To Keep Rolling
The Suns’ offense has continued to impress, ranking No. 4 in the league in points scored, while they sit 16th in points allowed. Devin Booker’s scoring has continued to be terrific, but his efficiency level has never been better. He has been averaging 26 points per game while shooting 54 percent from the field and 50 percent from three. It is as if he is back in high school and tearing it up, his production being wildly impressive. Kelly Oubre is averaging 17 points per game, while Baynes is scoring 15 ppg on 57 percent shooting and 47 percent from downtown. Williams is making this team relevant again.
Surprisingly, Frank Kaminsky has been playing very well for the second unit, averaging 11 points and six boards per game. Ricky Rubio is averaging nine assists per contest, and the team has flourished.
Phoenix Wins A Close One
A second straight Celtics loss awaits them as the Suns will pick up the win.
Free Play: PHX -2.5 (PHX -138)
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