Dallas at Boston
Time: 6:30 PM CST, Mon (NBA TV)
Spread: BOS -3.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Boston Celtics have started the 2019-20 season red hot, but the team is expected to be without Gordon Hayward who is undergoing surgery on his fractured hand. That is a blow to Boston, as Hayward had been resuming his status as an All-Star caliber player. Even so, Boston hosts the Dallas Mavericks as 3.5-point favorites it the first game of an NBA TV Monday night doubleheader.
Boston has won seven straight since losing its opener. Despite being known as a defensive team headed by a defensive-minded coach, the Celtics are giving up 103.8 points per game, ranked No. 26 in scoring defense. That would be a problem, if not for that fact Boston scores nearly 10 more per game than that (113.1). The Celtics have not been as stingy as usual defensively, but the team has made massive strides on offense, and most are quick to blame Kyrie Irving for having held back the rest of the roster over the past couple seasons.
Boston, instead, has turned its attention to its new point guard: Kemba Walker. Walker leads the team in scoring at 24.5 points per game while adding five rebounds and four assists per game. Jayson Tatum is stepping up, too, averaging 21.3 points per game, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists. Hayward had been resuming his former form; but, as stated, he will now miss an extended period of time recovering from his surgery.
Quietly, Jaylen Brown has also been superb on both ends of the court, and he is averaging 18.8 points per game while playing lockdown defense on the opponent’s best players on a nightly basis. The C’s will benefit greatly when Enes Kanter round into form, while Robert Williams III had six blocks last night filling in at center. Daniel Theis has been solid for boards and defense, too, and the Celtics get enough scoring on the perimeter that it probably can afford to take its time bringing back the more offensive-minded Kanter.
The Dallas Mavericks have been something of a surprise so far at 6-3. Perhaps it should not be. Luka Doncic has made the necessary steps from his great rookie season to one of the truly elite players in the league, and Kristaps Porzingis certainly seems strong and healthy again. With that duo, the Mavericks have one of the best 1-2 punches in the Association. It is depth where things begin to get shakier, as the team is short on the No. 3 and No. 4 options.
Doncic is averaging nearly a triple-double with 27.7 points, 10.8 rebounds and 9.1 assists per game, and he is drawing comparisons basically to a “Euro LeBron James,” at this point. Porzingis has assumed the role of the No. 2 option, and he has faired well. The former New York Knick is averaging 20.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 2.6 blocks per game. Tim Hardaway Jr and JJ Barea round out the other double-digit scorers for Dallas, but both averaged under 12 points per game.
Dallas still tallies 116.3 per game, though, with a deep 12-man rotation. While Dallas may lack some of the necessary complementary parts to make Doncic and Porzingis really thrive, the team is building steam and it could be a surprise in the 2020 NBA playoffs. Doncic is making his name. Porzingis is healthy.
The Mavericks can be a really dangerous team, and soon–but it probably needs to either add a third big scorer or get more out of Tim Hardaway Jr. Hardaway has shown a great offensive prowess over his career, and 11.9 points per game seem kind of like the bare minimum that can be asked of the former second-round pick.