Mar 6, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) and Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) react during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
The Brooklyn Nets travel to Boston to open their opening round, best-of-7 series with the Celtics
Ben Simmons will not suit up for Brooklyn, while Robert Williams III is still recovering from a knee injury
See the Nets vs Celtics Game 1 odds and preview and prediction below
No matter how you cut it, one NBA Eastern Conference powerhouse is going to be out after the first round.
In what should be the most competitive series in the First Round, the Brooklyn Nets are in Boston for Game 1 of their best-of-7 series against the Celtics.
It’s a complete flip from a season ago, as Brooklyn, then a 2-seed, dispatched the the 7th-seeded C’s in five games. The Nets needed a play-in win to lock into seventh this year, while Boston went on a furious run that had them out of the play-in picture, to their current status as the second seed.
The home-side Celtics have opened as 4-point favorites in Game 1 when the two sides tip off from TD Garden Sunday afternoon at 3pm ET, which can be seen live on ABC.
Nets vs Celtics Odds
Ov 224.0 (-110)
Un 224.0 (-110)
Odds as of April 16th at Caesars Sportsbook
Nets Betting Analysis
It feels like the Nets’ season has been non-stop chaos. And yet, despite a chance they would miss the playoffs altogether, Brooklyn now has the 5th-best 2022 NBA Championship odds, facing a team pegged with the third-best odds.
BK is powered by arguably the best scoring tandem in basketball in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen them on the court together a lot this year. KD missed extended games with a knee injury, and Brooklyn cratered, at one point dropping 11 straight.
KEVIN DURANT BLOCK…What a sequence. 🔥
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) April 12, 2022
Irving was on his own journey, opting to not get the COVID vaccine, and the Nets left him off their roster until a barrage of injuries forced them to welcome him back for road games. Only a recent mandate lift in NYC allowed him to play home games.
In all, they shared the court together just 17 games.
Despite that, Brooklyn hung tough, mostly through their offensive excellence, ranking top-10 in scoring, field goal and three-point shooting and assists.
Kyrie Irving completes perfect 9-for-9 half at the buzzer pic.twitter.com/5JA5Dflrlt
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) April 13, 2022
Their defense may have been 18th in points allowed, but they were top-8 in both opponent field goal and three-point shooting.
They also dealt James Harden to Philadelphia, receiving Ben Simmons, Andre Drummond and Seth Curry (on top of draft picks) in return.
Simmons has not played a game this year, citing mental health while sitting with the Sixers, while a bad back has delayed his debut in Brooklyn. There’s the possibility he makes his first appearance, with his new team, in the middle of the playoffs. He is not expected to suit up in Game 1.
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Celtics Betting Analysis
At one point this year, the Celtics’ ship was going nowhere fast, idling at 18-21 and far out of the playoff picture in the East.
Since then? The team went a remarkable 33-10 to close out the year and cement themselves as legitimate contenders to win the Eastern Conference.
Celtics defense pic.twitter.com/EXZE2SsgLg
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) March 29, 2022
Their success has come on two fronts. Defensively, as a team, everything started to click during this fun run. In the final 35 games to close out the year, they held 15 teams to under 100 points.
They dot the leaderboard in so many different categories. Boston holds teams to the lowest scoring output at 104.5 points a game, are first in field goal and three-point shooting defense, en route to posting the top defensive rating the NBA. They’re also a top-5 unit in rebounding and second in block shots.
The C’s will be compromised in this series, however, as Robert Williams III has already been ruled out until at least May as he recovers from a torn meniscus in his knee. That is a massive blow to their defense.
Jayson Tatum’s 54 point game against Kevin Durant was a masterpiece 🔥 pic.twitter.com/kHexUU0m7k
— Celtics Junkies (@Celtics_Junkies) March 7, 2022
The other reason for Boston’s meteoric rise is the emergence of Jayson Tatum as a complete, all-NBA talent.
Tatum finished the year seventh in scoring at 26.9 points per game, while adding eight rebounds and 4.4 assists — all career highs.
He notably hung 54 on the Nets in their last meeting, outdueling Durant, who had 37.
Nets vs Celtics Prediction
You might as well toss out the season series that Boston won 3-1, as two of those games didn’t include either Kyrie or Durant.
While Boston finished with the second-most home wins in the East (28-13), they were just 18-21-2 against the spread. Brooklyn was 24-17 on the road straight up, and 23-17-1 ATS.
In his last two games against the Nets, Jayson Tatum has averaged 42/3.5/6 on 52/50/83 splits.☘️☘️
In Kevin Durant’s last two against Boston, he’s averaged 29/8/5 on 54/30/87 splits.⚫️⚪️
We are in for a series between two of the league’s best🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/ITwdj9bDfe
— The Saturday Blues (@TheSatBlues) April 15, 2022
The Celtics’ defense has been compromised since Williams went down. In their last seven games without him, they finished 3-4 and surrendered 111 points per game. They’ll need to outscore some shortcomings to find success i the playoffs, at least in the first round.
On top of that, there’s just too many high-scoring talents here to expect a defensive slugfest.
The Pick: OVER 224.0 (-110)