Saturday’s Tip SheetGame of the Night: Celtics at Warriors – 8:30 PM EST
A potential NBA Finals preview takes place at Oracle Arena as the two teams that are currently the top seeds in their respective conferences hook up. Boston (35-14 SU, 28-19-2 ATS) continues a four-game road trip following a split at Staples Center in Los Angeles earlier this week. The Lakers knocked off the Celtics, 108-107 on Tuesday to send Boston to its fourth straight loss, but the C's bounced back the next night by downing the Clippers, 113-102 as 3 ½-point underdogs.
The Celtics led pretty much wire-to-wire against the Clippers, as Boston shot 14-of-40 from three-point range. Eight different Celtics drilled a trey, while guard Kyrie Irving led Boston with 20 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. Al Horford and Marcus Smart each sat out for the Celtics, but Horford is expected to return to the lineup on Saturday.
The Warriors (39-10 SU, 22-26-1 ATS) look to become the first team to 40 victories following Thursday’s 126-113 triumph over the Timberwolves to barely cash as 12 ½-point favorites. Golden State ended a three-game ATS slide as Steve Kerr's club converted 21-of-37 three-point attempts, including 18 treys from the All-Star trio of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson. Durant posted a triple-double (28 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists), while the Warriors improved to 9-1 this season at home when scoring at least 120 points.
In their previous meeting at TD Garden on November 16, the Warriors built a 17-point lead, but the Celtics rallied to upend the defending champions, 92-88 as seven-point underdogs. The victory extended Boston’s winning streak to 14 (which eventually reached 16), even though Brad Stevens’ squad shot 33% from the floor and Irving knocked down 4-of-16 field goal attempts. The Warriors weren’t much better, hitting 40% of their tries, as Curry put up a season-low nine points on 3-of-14 shooting.
Boston is one of the few teams that has seen success at Oracle Arena as the Celtics have covered in four straight visits, while winning the last two road matchups outright. Two seasons ago, Boston ended Golden State’s 54-game regular season home winning streak, 109-106 as 11 ½-point underdogs. Last season, the Celtics pulled away from the Warriors in the fourth quarter, 99-86 as 7 ½-point ‘dogs, but Durant missed that contest due to a knee injury.
Don’t Reach Three
For as inconsistent and unreliable the Wizards (26-22 SU, 20-28 ATS) have been at times this season, there is one thing you cannot take away from them. Washington has yet to lose three consecutive games, as the Wizards have dropped back-to-back games seven times, only to snap that mini skid each time. The Wizards slipped to 1-9 ATS in the past 10 games following Thursday’s 121-112 setback at Oklahoma City, while owning an 0-6 ATS mark in the previous six opportunities as a road favorite.
One of those six defeats came at Atlanta (14-34 SU, 25-21-2 ATS) in late December, 113-99 as the Hawks managed a cover as six-point home ‘dogs. The Hawks return home following a 121-110 defeat at Charlotte on Friday, as Atlanta owns a 6-1 ATS mark in its past seven in the underdog role at Philips Arena. Mike Budenholzer’s team has won only twice in 10 opportunities with no rest, but has compiled a 7-2-1 ATS on the second end of back-to-backs this season.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Heat (27-21 SU, 22-24-2 ATS) lost at Houston on Monday as 11-point ‘dogs, 99-90. But Miami was shocked on Thursday as 9 ½-point favorites by Sacramento, 89-88, as the Kings ended a 15-game skid at the American Airlines Arena. Now, the Heat will try to avoid its first three-game losing streak since late October with a visit from the Hornets. Miami is seeking the four-game season sweep of its Southeast counterparts, as the Heat edged the Hornets in their previous matchup last Saturday, 106-105 as seven-point ‘dogs.
Charlotte (20-27 SU, 20-24-3 ATS) pulled away from Atlanta on Friday, 121-110 to grab the cover as seven-point home favorites. The Hornets finished off an uneven homestand at 3-2, while owning a 2-10 record in its last 12 games off a victory since late November. Steve Clifford’s club has played eight of the past nine games at home, as the Hornets have put together an impressive 4-1 SU/ATS record the previous five road contests, including a victory at Golden State.
The Mavericks (16-33 SU, 24-24-1 ATS) were pointspread darlings in late December by covering five straight games. However, Dallas is mired in a 2-4 ATS slump following Friday’s 107-93 home defeat to Portland, the second loss to the Blazers in a week. The Mavs head back on the road to face Denver as Dallas has compiled a 10-2-1 ATS mark in its past 13 games in the role of an away underdog. One of those ATS victories came at Pepsi Center on January 16 as Dallas picked up the backdoor cover as six-point ‘dogs by outscoring Denver in the fourth quarter, 33-19 in a 105-102 setback.
The Nuggets (25-23 SU, 21-24-3 ATS) continue to be the face of inconsistency as they followed up a two-game skid by picking up consecutive home victories over the Blazers and Knicks. Denver snapped a five-game winless ATS run in Thursday’s 130-118 blowout of New York as seven-point favorites, as the Nuggets scorched the Knicks by shooting 60% from the floor. The hot shooting night by the Nuggets also ended a seven-game UNDER stretch, as three of the past four home meetings with the Mavericks have finished UNDER the total.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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