While we’re waiting for the Super Bowl LV, the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns will entertain us with their interconference clash from PHX Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. According to BetRivers Sportsbook, the Suns opened as slight 3-point favorites, so let’s see what’s the best betting pick here.
The Celtics are quite shorthanded, missing Marcus Smart (calf), Jaylen Brown (knee), and Romeo Langford (wrist). On the other side, the Suns could be without Dario Saric (medical protocols) and Jae Crowder (foot) who are listed as questionable.
Boston continues a tough road trip
The Boston Celtics (12-9; 12-9 ATS) are on a five-game journey, playing some strong teams in the Western Conference. After a 111-107 win at Golden State and a 116-111 defeat at Sacramento, the Celtics outlasted the LA Clippers as 5.5-point underdogs this past Friday, 119-115.
Jayson Tatum had a big night, racking up 34 points to go with seven rebounds, four steals, and only a couple of turnovers. Kemba Walker contributed with 24 points and four dimes, and the Celtics erased a 16-point lead thanks to some excellent offensive execution in the second half.
With Smart and Brown on the shelf, Tatum and Kemba will continue to drive the Celtics’ offense. Boston is tallying 113.0 points per 100 possessions (7th in the NBA) on 47.2% shooting from the field (10th) and 37.8% from beyond the arc (9th).
The Celtics are surrendering 110.8 points in a return (13th), allowing just 23.2 assists per 100 possessions (5th). They rank 13th in total rebounds (44.6) and ninth in total rebounds allowed (42.8).
Phoenix aims for its fifth win in six games
The Phoenix Suns (12-9; 12-9 ATS) have played very well over the last ten days. After putting an end to their three-game win streak with a heavy 123-101 loss at New Orleans, the Suns opened a seven-game homestand with a 109-92 victory over the Detroit Pistons this past Friday.
Devin Booker led the way with 23 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the field, while Chris Paul had another complete game, accounting for 20 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists. The Suns played some aggressive defense, holding the Pistons to 37.4% shooting from the field and 19.4% from beyond the 3-point line.
Phoenix possesses the sixth-best defensive rating in the NBA, yielding 108.3 points per 100 possessions. The Suns rank fourth in opponent 3-point percentage (34.8%) and allow only 22.5 assists per 100 possessions (3rd). They score 110.7 points per 100 possessions (17th) on 46.2% shooting from the field (15th) and 35.5% from downtown (21st).
- 1-8 ATS in the last nine games against Phoenix
- 11-4 ATS in the last 15 home games
- 4-1 ATS in the last five games overall
I’m backing the Suns to win and cover, and there’s no reason to overthink this clash. The Celtics miss a couple of starters, and both Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown are very important players in Brad Stevens’ system. They played very well against the Clippers despite all the injury problems, so I expect to see some regression when Boston squares off against the Suns’ stout defense.
After a strong performance in the bubble, the Suns look ready to finally snap their playoff drought. Chris Paul is a great addition to their talented roster, so I’m looking for the Suns to put on another defensive clinic and beat the shorthanded Celtics.
Pick: Take Phoenix Suns -3.0 at -110
The Suns prefer to take things slowly, averaging 97.3 possessions per 48 minutes (26th in the NBA). I’m expecting a lot of half-court basketball Sunday in Arizona, as Boston records 99.0 possessions per 48 minutes (19th).
Even if the Celtics try to speed up things, the Suns will continue with their low-tempo game. Four of the Suns’ last six games went in the under, as well as four of the Celtics’ previous six contests. Their last head-to-head duel in Phoenix produced only 184 points in total.
Pick: Go under 220.5 points at -110