Boston Celtics at Denver Nuggets
Thursday, 2/24/11, 10:30 PM EDT, TV: TNT
Opening Point Spread: Boston -3
Current Betting Line: Boston -3.5
Opening Total: 204
Current Total: 203.5
Boston is focused on picking up its fourth win in five meeting against Denver and is coming off a 115-93 road win over Golden State on Tuesday night. The Celtics went into the halftime break tied, but outscored the Warriors by 22 over the final two quarters to tally a third consecutive win. “You lose the first game after the All-Star break, you kind of lose your momentum and they’re you’re battling uphill,” said forward Paul Pierce. “So it’s good to get that first one and keep that momentum.” The team is 16-9 overall on the road this season, including a 6-2 mark against Western Conference opponents. Boston is 5-15 ATS after a win by 10 or more points this season and currently a road favorite on the NBA lines page.
The Celtics split the season series 1-1 against the Nuggets last year and guard Ray Allen led the club in scoring 20.5 points per game, while forward Kevin Garnett pitched in with 17.5 points and 7.5 rebounds. Boston may have its focus elsewhere from an organizational standpoint on Thursday, as many NBA experts are expecting the club to conduct a trade and obtain a backup small forward. The team is still uncertain about the status of Marquis Daniels, who suffered a bruised spinal cord on February 6.
Denver had little trouble in dispatching Memphis in its first game after the All-Star break and trading star Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks in a three-team deal. The Nuggets had six of their eight active players score in double figures in the 120-107 win. “Our guys, when their backs are confronted with a difficult situation, they usually play at a high level,” said coach George Karl. “We always react to tough situations in a positive way.” The team will be focused on reaching the century mark offensively tonight, but will be facing one of the best defenses in the league. Denver is 3-13 when scoring less than 100 points in a game. The club is 1-7 ATS against Atlantic division foes this season.
The Nuggets are a solid 23-7 overall at home this season and come into tonight’s big-time match-up with an 8-1 record when hosting Eastern Conference teams. Denver has won five of its last six games against Boston in the Mile High City, but the one loss came on February 23, 2009 at the Pepsi Center by 38 points. That particular loss tied the largest margin of defeat every for the Nuggets at the hands of the Celtics. Offensively, the team leads the NBA in scoring at 107.8 points per game, but the defensive end must improve. The Grizzlies became the fourth Denver opponent in the last six games to shoot at least 50 percent from the field.
Bettors will be interested in backing the Celtics due to their 11-4 ATS mark as a road favorite of 0.5 to 4.5 points, while the Nuggets are 2-5 ATS as an underdog.