NBA on TNT Odds, Picks: Boston Celtics at Portland Trail Blazers

Isaiah Thomas was selected 60th overall in 2011, and is unarguably among the best of that draft class.

Boston at Portland
Time: 9:30 PM CT (TNT)
Spread: POR -1
Total: 220

Odds c/o 5dimes

The Boston Celtics had its seven-game win streak snapped last night by the Sacramento Kings 108-92, and now Boston will face Portland on the second-half a road back-to-back as 1-point underdogs. Portland is 14-11 at home this season and is just one-half game behind No. 8 Denver for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Portland is 14-11 at home this season and is just one-half game behind No. 8 Denver for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.

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Last night in the blowout loss to Sacramento, the Celtics still got 26 points and seven assists from All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas, but Boston shot just 39 percent from the floor, had 17 turnovers and was out-rebounded 40-39 by one of the worst rebounding teams in the Association. The Kings were also without All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins, but Sacto got six points and 11 boards from his fill-in Kosta Koufos, as well as getting 26 points from starting point guard Darren Collison. The Kings are without Rudy Gay the remainder of the season, too, so Boston really is without good excuses for losing to a team that was without its top-two scorers.

The Kings were also without All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins, but Sacto got six points and 11 boards from his fill-in Kosta Koufos, as well as getting 26 points from starting point guard Darren Collison. The Kings are without Rudy Gay the remainder of the season, too, so Boston really is without good excuses for losing to a team that was without its top-two scorers.

Can Boston get back on track tonight? It will be tough on the second-half of a back-to-back, but the Blazers are playing mediocre basketball overall and have gone just 5-5 SU over its past 10 games. Portland is coming off a 114-113 win over the Dallas Mavericks, but still has lost 3 of its past 5 games and that included a loss to Dallas, as well.

Dame and CJ have kept the Blazers in the fight, but Portland is a bit of a disappointment this season overall.

Portland

Portland, despite having two top guards, really lacks the frontcourt talent and overall depth to hang with the premier clubs in the West. With the news that it will be without Evan Turner for six weeks, that only kicks one more hole in the depth chart since he is the premier playmaker of the second unit.

The other two ‘L’s’ were understandable: Oklahoma City and Golden State. Portland despite having two top guards really lacks the frontcourt talent and overall depth to hang with the premier clubs in the West. With the news that it will be without Evan Turner for six weeks, that only kicks one more hole in the depth chart since he is the premier playmaker of the second unit.

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Expect Allen Crabbe and Maurice Harkless to see increased roles, but neither is really capable of supplanting the ball handling influence of Turner. Turner averages 10 points, three rebounds and three assists per game in 26 minutes a night, and Crabbe averages just 1.3 assists per game with most of his scoring coming assisted. Harkless is similar, and he averages just 1.0 assists per game too. The end result may be a splitting of the time that CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard play in order to keep one on the court with the second unit. Alternatively, Mason Plumlee could see extended minutes in a playmaking high-post role, too. It is odd to think

Alternatively, Mason Plumlee could see extended minutes in a playmaking high-post role, too. It is odd to think one role players subtraction could impact so much.

But it does, and the end result may be a splitting of the time that CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard play in order to keep one on the court with the second unit. Alternatively, Mason Plumlee could see extended minutes in a playmaking high-post role, too. It is odd to think losing a guy who averages less than 10 points per game could impact a team so much, but Portland is not that deep and it relies on Turner more heavily than most might suspect based on merely scanning box scores.

Boston

Boston, meanwhile, makes no fakes about relying so heavily on Isaiah Thomas. The 5-foot-9 point guard and last pick of the 2011 draft is averaging nearly 30 points per game and has become known now as a “fourth quarter killer.” Thomas is averaging 35.4 points per game over his past five games, and has shot 47.6 percent from the field over that span. While tiny and a bit of a defensive liability, no one on the C’s roster can consistently create his own shot and get buckets like Thomas can.

The Celtics are without Avery Bradley, which has called Marcus Smart into a larger role on the offensive end of the floor. Bradley is nursing an Achilles injury and is not traveling for this entire road trip, so Boston will have to get a lot from Smart as well as rookie Jaylen Brown and swingman Jae Crowder. The offense has been lacking, or at least it was against Sacramento, so if the Celtics can milk some more scoring out of that trio (who averages about 30 points per game), it would go a long way toward defeating the offensive-minded Blazers.

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Posted by on Feb 9 2017. Filed under Headlines, NBA. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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