The Boston Celtics have won six of their last seven games, cashing sportsbook tickets in that span with a 5-2 spread record.  Doc Rivers’ squad continues a home stand in Friday’s matchup against the New York Knicks.

NBA odds makers were slow to post numbers for this duel, with Boston’s Rajon Rondo listed as “questionable.”  They eventually settled on Boston as 6.5 point favorites and the total at 182.5

 

Pierce, Celtics crush Raptors 

Boston began February with Wednesday’s 100-64 triumph as a 9.5-point home favorite against the Toronto Raptors (Raptors and Wizards play today).  The Celtics connected 52 percent of their field buckets, including a sizable 12-of-24 from three-point land. 

Kevin GarnettCeltics forward Paul Pierce notched team-highs of 17 points and eight assists.  Pierce’s bench mates logged their share of minutes in the lopsided affair, with rookie JaJuan Johnson shooting 5-of-5 from the field en route to finishing with 11 points.

The contest’s combined 164 points dipped below the total of 173, making the under 10-1 in the Celtics’ last 11 home dates.  Boston held the Raptors to 34.2 percent field shooting, while outrebounding Toronto, 46-39. 

Knicks edged out by Bulls 

New York heads to Boston with no rest after Thursday’s 105-102 defeat as a 3.5-point home dog against the Chicago Bulls.  The Knicks trailed by as many as 13 points, while allowing Chicago to hit 52.7 percent from the field. 

Knicks mates Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony united for 60 points, despite a combined 0-for-6 night beyond the arc.  Stoudemire added a team-high 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double in eight games, while Anthony sank 6-of-6 free throws. 

The battle’s combined 207 points leaped above the total of 190, lifting the over to 2-0 in New York’s last pair of games.  Knicks guard Iman Shumpert logged a season-high eight assists, while he and his mates united to sink 10-of-14 free throws. 

Back the ‘under’ at TD Garden 

Friday’s tip is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. (ET), with ESPN providing the national television coverage. 

This sports betting handicapper is backing the under, looking for a tight battle between the Atlantic Division rivals.  Boston has allowed a stingy 74.5 PPG in their last six home affairs, while the Knicks have put up a meager 84.7 PPG in their last three road contests.

New York came away with a 106-104 win in December’s season-opening duel against Boston, with Rondo piling in team-highs of 31 points and 13 assists for the Celtics.  Friday’s rematch should have less octane with Rondo either missing the affair or playing his first game after a layoff. 

The under is 10-1 in the Knicks’ 11 road games, making home-road disparity another reason for a tighter matchup here.  Last April’s postseason set between the clubs saw the under go 2-0 in the pair of matchups Boston hosted to open the series.  The squads united for 180.5 PPG, dipping far lower than the 199.5 PPG put on the board in New York’s two home games that followed. 

New York’s six spots played this year on no rest have cashed under tickets at 5-1, with Anthony and Co. putting up just 91.2 PPG in that span.  The Knicks are playing the middle game of a double back-to-back here, adding even further chances to the likelihood of a scoring clunker from Mike D’Antoni’s squad.  

New York has not gone through this scheduling situation yet and could mail it in here if behind late, looking ahead to Saturday’s more favorable home spot against the New Jersey Nets.  Look for the under to cash with the Celtics’ solid defense at home preserving a late lead.