NBA Monday: High-flying Celtics visit lowly Hawks

NBA Monday: High-flying Celtics visit lowly Hawks article feature image

At opposite ends of the Eastern Conference standings, the Celtics and Hawks headline an NBA Monday short on value.

Weekend Wrap:

  • After a big win against the Wizards, the Cavaliers lost to the 1-8 Hawks to drop to 4-6.

  • James Harden caught fire for 56 points on 17 shots in the Rockets’ win over the Jazz, who dropped to 0-4 on the road.

  • The Timberwolves beat the Mavericks (112-99) and Hornets (112-94) to win their fourth and fifth games in a row.

  • Kristaps Porzingis vs. the spread: The Knicks are 5-4 against the spread with Porzingis scoring 35.4 points per game when they cover and only 23.75 points per game when they don’t.

  • The Thunder dropped to 4-5 after losing their last two games.

There are three games on the slate today, but I only like the look of one. The Nets and Suns are too unreliable, while Hassan Whiteside’s minutes are equally as inconsistent. He doesn’t even know what’s going on:

"I think I’m on a minutes restriction or something. I don’t really know what’s going on right now."


Celtics (8-2) @ Hawks (2-8)

The best team in basketball plays one of the worst tonight. Both are on the second night of back-to-backs. While the Hawks come in full of confidence after their win over the Cavaliers, they’re up against the Celtic, who are on an eight-game winning streak.

Despite the winning streak, the Celtics aren’t exceptionally flash offensively. Kyrie Irving is doing his bit but rookie Jason Tatum and sophomore Jaylen Brown struggle for consistency. Marcus Smart is just struggling in general with 9.9 points per game on 30.6 percent shooting.

None of that matters, though. Defensively, the Celtics are incredible.

  • 93.2 opponent points per game (first)
  • 96.9 defensive rating (first)
  • 47 percent opponent effective field goal percentage (third)
  • Semi Ojeleye (-0.1) is the only role player with a negative box plus/minus

The Hawks broke their eight-game losing streak last night but have largely struggled to score. They are ranked in the bottom six in offensive rating (100.6), effective field goal percentage (49.3 percent) and points per game (102.0). Only Dennis Schroder is averaging more than 14 points per game, as the Hawks sorely lack a consistent second scorer.

Up against an exceptional defensive team and on the second night of a back-to-back, the eight points the Hawks are getting as a home dog isn’t enough for me to be confident in them covering.

Pick: Celtics -8

Nets (3-6) @ Suns (4-6)

  • Suns are playing the second night of a back-to-back
  • Trevor Booker is listed as questionable
  • Nets are 0-4 of the road
  • Nets are on a four-game losing streak

Heat (4-5) @ Warriors (7-3)

  • Heat are playing the second night of a back-to-back
  • Hassan Whiteside appears to be on a minutes restriction
  • Dion Waiters did not play last night
  • Warriors are 0-4 against the spread at home

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