Dallas will be in Boston to face the Celtics on Wednesday in a battle of young stars. Luka carries his Mavs as Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown will be looking to lift the Celts back to .500. It’s been a tough year for them with a lot of the ins and outs and moving pieces, but here they stand.
It was good to see Luka Doncic back in the Mavs lineup after he had missed a few games, and it was as if he never missed a beat. When he is at his best, this is a tough team to beat. They hope to get some quality minutes out of JJ Redick when he’s able to heal up from his heel injury. He has the ability to get hot and could be the type of player the team was missing.
Boston, meanwhile, hopes to get an effective Evan Fournier. He was without a point in the team’s last game, shooting 0-10 in his debut. Luke Kornet has provided some quality minutes off the bench, though, spreading the floor and knocking down threes. He’s over 7’0 and has the ability to protect the rim as well. He’s an upgrade over the very big Tacko Fall as Tristan Thompson recovers.
Betting Lines: It’s a tight spread as the Mavericks are a -1 favorite. The over/under is set at 225 points.
Mavs Seeking Road Win
Home court in the first round seems very unlikely for the Mavericks again this year. With the Clippers, Jazz, Nuggets, and Suns, plus Portland doing a lot of winning, there is not much of a chance to slide into the top four. And when you add the Lakers who don’t have LeBron or AD right now getting healthy, well, there are some gloomy prospects.
At the rate things are going, the Mavs won’t have an easy path to the playoffs. Getting there through the play-in tournament is the most likely option. Competing with the likes of the Grizzlies, Warriors and Spurs will not be easy. The conference has a lot of talent, and Luka will need to play out of his mind.
For now, they’ll look to hand the Celtics another woeful loss.
Celtics Seeking Home Win
After a third trip to the conference finals in four years, the expectations were again high for the Celtics. But, all they have done is found new ways to lose. When they get the last shot, they usually win thanks to the heroics of Jayson Tatum. The late-game defense they play is not usually so good, though. As a result of that, it costs them games.
Marcus Smart needs to find more consistency in his offensive game, but the team probably gets better by subtracting Jeff Teague. He was just eating minutes from some of the other guys like Payton Pritchard. Fournier should be able to provide scoring, whether starting or coming off the bench from here on in, after a poor debut.
To get the win in this one, a big Robert Williams performance could go a long way.
Mavs Fall Short in Boston
The Celtics will pick up the win over Dallas, getting them back to .500 at 24-24.
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