Boston Celtics at Utah Jazz NBA Handicapping Preview & Predictions

Boston Celtics at Utah Jazz
Monday, 2/28/11, 9:00 PM EDT
Opening Point Spread:  Boston -4
Current Betting Line:  Boston -4.5
Opening Total:  191
Current Total:  191.5

Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers has some work to do with new faces on the roster heading into the later part of the season

Boston was able to practice for the first time with its two new pieces acquired at the trade deadline and will look to hand Utah its seventh loss in eight games Monday night in Salt Lake City.  The Celtics were able to use Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic in their 99-92 win over the Clippers, as both players combined to score 16 points.  “It was great for their first day, because we really didn’t have a lot of stuff for them,” said forward Paul Pierce.  “It’s hard, because we only had a shoot around to prepare, so it’s going to take time.”  The team is 17-10 overall on the road this season, including a 7-3 mark versus Western Conference opponents.  Boston is 14-13 ATS on the road this season and currently favored on the NBA lines page.

The Celtics tallied an impressive 110-86 home victory in the first meeting against the Jazz this season, as five players scored in double figures.  Boston split the season series 1-1 during the 2009-10 campaign.  It’s likely the team will look to get the ball in the hands of Green on a regular basis tonight due to scoring 37 points in two meetings against Utah when playing for Oklahoma City this season.  “I’m going to have to figure out how to use Jeff,” coach Doc Rivers said.  “I have no idea yet and that’s going to take some time.”

Utah has been dropping in the Western Conference standings and look to avoid losing 16 of 21 games.  “We are just looking for something good to happen so that we can start feeling good about ourselves,” coach Tyrone Corbin stated.  The latest play has dropped the Jazz from third place in the playoff standings to ninth.  It’s unlikely that the club picks up a win tonight against a team that destroyed them in the first meeting, as no Utah player managed to score more than 12 points.  The team is 17-13 overall at home on the season, including a 9-3 mark versus the East.  Utah is 12-18 ATS at EnergySolutions Arena this season.

The Jazz have lost three consecutive games in the series against the Celtics, but may be able to turn it around due to the franchise winning 14 of 16 meetings the last time that occurred.  Utah is 36-46 all-time against Boston and 25-16 when facing off at home.  Offensively, the squad will be leaning heavily on the production of Al Jefferson, who has averaged 27.0 points in his last five games, which happens to be 9.2 better than his team-leading average.

Bettors will be interested in backing the Celtics due to their 26-12-2 ATS mark when following a ATS loss, while the Jazz are 8-20 ATS in their last 28 games.

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