The red-hot Celtics will head to Portland to face the Trail Blazers in a game that is high off star power. Jayson Tatum is in quite the zone right now, dropping a career-high 53 points a few games back, making things look so easy. Portland took a tough loss to the Heat, cutting a 20+ points deficit to nine before finally succumbing to defeat.
Boston is two games over .500 and seriously knocking on the door of making a push to the top six in the East. If they finish anywhere from 7-10, they would be a part of the play-in tournament, working hard against competitive teams to try and claim one of the final two spots in a bunched-up East. The goal for them is to win as much as possible, maintaining a space inside the top six.
Portland has been up and down, but they should be very grateful for the offseason they had. They brought Enes Kanter back, who had spent last season with the Celtics. Robert Covington has not been a consistent scorer but has done so many good things. Derrick Jones Jr. remains a serious upgrade over last year’s backup wing players, Ariza not partaking in the bubble. And shoutout to Norm Powell, who has looked good here for the last couple of weeks.
Odds: The spread for the contest is currently sitting at Portland -1.5. The over/under is set at 227 points.
Celtics Seeking Win No. 29
At 28-26, the Celtics should be sort of happy about where they currently sit. Marcus Smart had to miss over a month of action. Jayson Tatum spent a few weeks out of commission as he dealt with a positive COVID-19 test. Kemba can’t do back-to-backs yet. Evan Fournier hasn’t yet been able to acclimate himself, while the team forgot how to operate centers during the first 2.5 months.
Robert Williams III has come in, making the center spot his to lose. The return of Tristan Thompson, who was out for several weeks, has also provided the team a huge lift while giving them a very viable backup big man, who can be a dominant force on the offensive glass.
It will come down to Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Blazers Looking for Home W
31-22 is solid for Portland, but it’s hard to say if they are satisfied. Two years ago, they finished as the #6 seed in the West but found their way into the conference finals anyway. A lot has changed for them since then, but Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are here, and as good as ever these days.
Portland had to play more than six weeks with CJ out of commission, and Dame found a way to continue to carry them to victories. Jusuf Nurkic missed a number of months, and Kanter just slid into the lineup and was one of the best rebounders in the league. Plus, Carmelo Anthony is always there for a big performance when you need him.
Boston Wins in Portland
Sorry Trail Blazers, but Boston is stealing this one. Can’t stop Tatum. No sir.
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OVER/UNDER: OVER 227 POINTS
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