Boston Celtics at San Antonio Spurs, AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
Thursday, March 31, 2011, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: Spurs Pick’em
Current Line: Spurs -2
Opening Total: 187.5
Current Total: 187.5
Money Line: Spurs -130 / Celtics +110
The San Antonio Spurs (57-17) have dropped four straight games overall and at home against the Boston Celtics (51-22) heading into Thursday’s nationally televised showdown at the AT&T Center on TNT. The Spurs (-2) and Celtics seemed to be headed for a matchup in the NBA Finals for much of the regular season, but both teams have endured some bumps in the road lately, altering that course a bit and giving other contenders the chance to catch them.
San Antonio still owns the best record in the league despite its recent skid and hopes to get some key players back for this game. The Spurs played without Tim Duncan (ankle), Tony Parker (knee), Manu Ginobili (thigh) and Antonio McDyess (back) in Monday’s 100-92 home loss to Portland and may only get Parker back against Boston. They have not dropped five in a row since losing their last six of the 1996-97 season and could see the Dallas Mavericks or the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers draw even closer to the top seed with a loss.
The Mavericks and Lakers square off in the second game of the TNT doubleheader, and each of them are within five games of San Antonio with two weeks left in the regular season. The Spurs certainly want to retain homecourt advantage against any future opponent in the playoffs because they have the NBA’s best home record at 33-4.
The Celtics have already lost their grip on the top seed in the Eastern Conference and could fall to third behind Chicago and Miami with a loss at San Antonio. They have not lost four in a row straight-up but have failed to cover the spread in their last four along with 10 of 14.
Boston did get point guard Rajon Rondo back in a 107-100 loss at Indiana on Monday after he missed the previous game with a finger injury. Rondo scored 22 points and dished out eight assists against the Pacers following an eight-game stretch that saw him average 5.8 points on 29.2 percent shooting. Paul Pierce led the way with 23 points while Glen Davis added 20 off the bench. Kevin Garnett and Nenad Krstic both battled foul trouble and combined for 13 points and eight rebounds. The total went OVER for the first time in 11 games, as the team surrendered more than 90 points for the first time since March 9.
San Antonio has won just one of the last four meetings with the Celtics, who will be going for their fifth consecutive road victory in the series. The Spurs have covered the last two games between the teams though with the UNDER cashing in three of the past four.
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