The Boston Celtics play host to the Utah Jazz tonight, as both teams look to improve their playoff positioning. Tip-off is scheduled at 7:30 pm ET at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, where the Celtics are the 3.5 point favorite.
Utah Jazz come into TD Garden in Boston after a convincing victory over
the New Jersey Nets. Both the Boston Celtics and Utah Jazz almost have identical
records and are currently holding the 7th spot in each respective
These two teams matchup very evenly, but because Boston is at home, NBA betting shops have the
Celtics as a 3.5 point favorite and the total is listed at 189.5. The NBA odds had opened with Boston as a four point favorite, but the fact that this line has shrunk just goes to prove how close people think these teams are.
is in a tighter conference, but both teams need this game. Who's up for the
task? Will it be the clutch consistent play of all time Celtics great Paul
Pierce or the quiet underrated duo of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap of the Utah
Jazz? Lets look a bit deeper into this matchup and decide where we should place our sports picks.
contrast in styles
game features two teams that are polar opposites. The Celtics are one of the
best defensive teams in the NBA, ranking 3rd in points, allowing at 90.6 while
the Jazz are the 6th highest scoring and 4th highest rebounding team in the
NBA. It's a matter of which style win's out in the end.
Al Jefferson doesn't get much attention because he plays for a small market team
in Utah. Jefferson has carved out a very nice career for himself as a member of
the Jazz. He leads the team in scoring (19.4 ppg), rebounding (9.3 rpg), and
blocks (1.56 bpg). It's been a long road since he was drafted by Boston in the
1st round in 2004 and now Jefferson returns against a team that's on the
decline. When he was a Celtic, he was a "young buck", but now AJ is in
his prime in his 7th season in the league and the Celtics will have to give him
major attention defensively.
March production has been as massive as his 289 pound frame. For the month of
March, he's averaging 20.9 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.5 blocks.
Butler did it
I say Gordon Hayward, the Butler graduate, has turned into a clutch player for the
Jazz lately. I know folks, it's a corny joke, but there's nothing corny
about a guy that came from a college that was known for upsetting teams in the
NCAA Tournament. He has made the transition to the pro game quite nicely and will continue to produce for this team.
his last 5 games, Hayward is averaging 14 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists,
1.6 blocks, and 1.4 steals. Except for his shooting efficiency, Gordon Hayward
has really elevated his game, and the Jazz lwill look for him during
crucial parts of the game. Hayward doesn't shy away and usually delivers.
Expect a "blue collar" like performance out of Hayward as he has youth
on his side and will be a handful for the aging Celtics to cover.
most underrated player in the NBA over the last decade
I am willing to go to this extreme simply because I believe this to be true. Paul Pierce might not average 27
points per game, but when do you ever see Pierce not deliver a timely bucket?
Whenever a game comes down to one play for Boston, they put the ball in the
hands of number 34, and most of the time the Celts come up on the winning end.
Pierce has the uncanny ability of not being flustered by any situation. He can
shoot, rebound, and pass the ball, but with Paul Pierce, it's not about the
numbers, it's about how many times that he's bailed Boston out of an adverse
situation. We always hear the names Kobe, Lebron, Howard, and Wade, but I feel that Pierce should be added to this list.
his last game, Pierce came up big with 36 points and 10 rebounds. As this guy
get's older, he retains his playing ability. Look for another big game out of
Garnett is another Celtic veteran that has been able to retain his playing
ability. For a time, it seemed like Garnett was on the decline, but for the
last couple of seasons he's been stronger than ever. He was the first player
of the new generation to skip college and he's been schooling the opposing
players on the court ever since he was a member of the Minnesota
There's nobody that plays with more fire and passion than KG, and he is one of
the main reasons why Boston has one of the best defenses in the NBA. Saying
that, I think that Garnett will have his hands full tonight, and this game will come
down to the guard play of Rondo and Pierce.
a winner in this game will be a true task, as both teams
are very evenly matched and very gamed. When it comes to placing my NBA picks, I look for this to be a defensive battle
and the total is slightly high at 189.5. Don't wager you mortgage money on this
game, but you can feel safe in making a nice sized bet on the under.