Some marquee games just shine a little brighter. In the opener on TNT, Steph Curry and the world champion Golden State Warriors visit the 2021 Larry O’Brien winners, Milwaukee Bucks and Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. And in the night cap, it’s the Boston Celtics finishing up a six-game west coast road trip against the Los Angeles Lakers. Ahem, BEAT LA.
The Warriors are coming off rested after Finals rematch and win vs. the Celtics on Saturday night. They’re a game over .500 at 14-13 and have been a little choppy all year. At Oracle Arena, Golden State is one of the best home teams in the NBA at 12-2, but the road has been a different story. At 2-11 outside of San Francisco, their defense takes a significant hit; they’re 13.1 points per 100 possessions worse. They’ll still have a red-hot Steph Curry who is averaging 30 points per game on 50-44-91 splits, but they’ll need more than the MVP candidate to beat the Bucks. Milwaukee is winners of seven of their last nine games and returning home after a disappointing loss in Houston on Sunday night. Khris Middleton is probable after leaving the Rockets game with a sprained ankle and they’ll of course have Antetokounmpo as their hub on both ends of the floor.
Out west, it’s Celtics-Lakers. Boston leads the all-time series 206-164, but you can throw out all the records when it comes to sports’ greatest rivalries. The Celtics will be without Al Horford (personal reasons) and Robert Williams (knee surgery rehab) to man the middle against one of the hottest players in the league, Anthony Davis. AD is averaging 31 points and 14 rebounds over his last ten games and LA is coming home after a 3-3 east coast road trip with an impressive win against the aforementioned Bucks. All eyes however will be on Jayson Tatum vs. LeBron James. JT has been the MVP favorite as the head of the snake of the best team in basketball, but at age 37, James is still one of the best in the game. However, back-to-back duds for Tatum could have him looking to get back on track against a smaller Lakers front court.
In Milwaukee, the Bucks are four-point favorites hosting the defending champs and last year’s Eastern Conference representative Celtics enter Crypto Arena as 3.5-point favorites against their hated rivals. As mentioned, the biggest mismatch might be Anthony Davis vs. whoever the Celtics throw at him in the paint. Blake Griffin has gotten the starts in Al Horford’s place with either Grant Williams (as a small ball 5) and Luke Kornet soaking up minutes off the bench.
With Boston’s front court depth depleted, AD could have a field day. Despite their size deficiencies, the Celtics average the second fewest field goals allowed in the restricted area behind the Warriors. The over/under on points for Davis is 27.5 (-115/-115), but the more curious bet could be his rebounding totals on the night. The Celtics have had two sub-par shooting nights in California already. After hitting just 12-of-40 (30%) three-pointers against the Warriors on Saturday night, a 9-for-39 performance vs. the Clippers resulted in an LA blowout. If Boston continues with their struggles, Davis could clean up on the boards. Our friends at DraftKings have set his rebounding over/under at 13.5 (+100/-130).
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