The Celts enter this one at 44-31, breaking a 4-game losing streak with a win over Cleveland last time out. Marcus Smart led the way in Kyrie Irving’s absence, dropping 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. Jayson Tatum and Al Horford also stepped up, dropping a combined 40 points in efficient fashion.
The Pacers find themselves just ahead of the Celtics, sitting 45-30 despite 5 losses in their last 6 contests. Bojan Bogdanovic continued his strong form in a loss to OKC last time out, pouring in 28 points and 6 made 3’s. Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner continue to form a beastly Center pairing, both men again registering double-doubles.
Prediction: Pacers +6.5
The Celtics should’ve overtaken the Pacers weeks ago, yet here we are. Indiana are one of the pluckiest sides in the NBA and will definitely be fully motivated in this one. Getting 6.5 points, I think they at least scare Boston here in a close one, if not claim the outright upset.
The Atlanta Hawks have quietly been balling lately, winning 3 straight games to sit 27-48. Trae Young has been legitimately outstanding, dropping 33 points and 12 assists in New Orleans last time out. Young big John Collins also continues to impress, averaging just under 20 points and 12 boards on the season.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers have also been in particularly strong form of late, winning 8 of their last 9 to move to 3rd place out West. Seth Curry has been a revelation recently, dropping a quick-fire 20 points off the bench in Chicago last time out. The loss of Jusuf Nurkic is a big one but Enes Kanter should be capable of filling his shoes.
Prediction: Hawks +3.5
Whilst Portland’s winning streak has very much been in the public eye, Atlanta continue to go under the radar. With new lottery rules in place, there just isn’t that incentive to tank anymore. Especially against a thinner Portland rotation, I think Atlanta is great value at 3.5 points here.
The Jazz are another side in excellent form, winning 8 of their last 9 games to sit 45-30. Rudy Gobert was again fantastic last time out, dropping 22 points and 11 boards as they comfortably beat the Lakers at home. Joe Ingles turned into Rajon Rondo all of a sudden, adding 11 points and 14 assists of his own.
Whilst their season is all but over, the Wiz broke a 5-game losing streak with a promising win over Phoenix last time out. Thomas Bryant came up big on the interior, dropping an impressive 18 points and 19 rebounds. Bradley Beal also contributed 28 points, whilst Jabari Parker had 28 and 15 off the bench.
Prediction: Jazz -12
Despite the Wizards road win the other night, they’re no match for this Utah side. The Jazz are firing on all cylinders right now and should enter the playoffs in red-hot fashion. With Gobert and Mitchell playing as they are, I’m expecting another home win and cover for the Jazz here.