Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 2:45 PM EST.
Boston +142 over Brooklyn
NBA Playoff Eastern Conference Quarterfinals - Game 3
7:30 PM EST. Aside from a change in venue, what business do the Nets have being favored here in Game 3? We didn’t see anything in Boston’s 114-107 Game 2 victory to talk us out of continuing to fade the Nets, so we’re not going to stop now.
Yes, the Nets played better than we expected, but it still was not enough, as Brooklyn blew a 17-point lead and got schooled in the fourth quarter. Maybe it was the relentless pressure the C’s put on Kevin Durant, who went 0-10 from the field in the second half, or maybe it was the total shut down of Kyrie Irving, who was just 4-of-13 on his field goal attempts while also missing his lone three-point attempt. That Brooklyn shot 48% from beyond the arc and still lost by seven points has to be a concern. That’s two games now where they have shot the lights out and not been rewarded. What happens when inevitable regression sets in?
It’s worth noting how tight and successful the Celtics' defensive game planning has been under coach Ime Udoka. Udoka was an assistant coach under Steve Nash in Brooklyn before taking over the reins in Beantown. His main job while with the Nets? Defensive scheming. So far it’s been brilliant, as the Celtics have snuffed out one of both of the Nets stars in each of the first two games.
In our Game 2 write up we spoke at length about the differences between the Celtics and Nets, with the most notable being the C’s are a real team, while the Nets are a two-man crew surrounded by scrubs begging to get the scraps when Durant and Irving are done. Our thoughts in that department have not changed. If the Nets' two best players somehow break through the Boston brick wall, fine, but with big man Robert Williams expected to have some role here in Game 3 after injuring his knee earlier this season, the Celtics' domination in the paint is likely to continue. Even if Durant and Irving get theirs, there isn’t going to be enough for everyone else to make the difference.
Boston +142 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.84)