NBA Odds, Prediction, Preview for Nets vs. Celtics Game 3: Will Brooklyn’s Dominance Continue in Boston? (Friday, May 28)
Steven Ryan/Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Durant.
- Brooklyn is favored to take a commanding 3-0 lead on Friday night against the Celtics.
- Boston simply has not been able to keep up with the Nets' sensational offense, especially without Jaylen Brown.
- Joe Dellera breaks down the betting value in Game 3 between the Nets and Celtics.
Nets vs. Celtics Odds
|Moneyline||-310 / +250|
|Time||Friday, 8:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Thursday and via FanDuel|
The Brooklyn Nets have dominated their series against the Boston Celtics and head to the TD Garden with a 2-0 lead. There’s the expression that it’s not a series until the road team wins a game, but this one certainly feels like a wrap.
Will the Celtics put up a fight, or can we back the Nets to virtually put this series out of reach with a 3-0 lead? Let’s break it down.
Nets Hitting Rhythm Offensively
The Nets will be without Jeff Green, who has been diagnosed with a strained plantar fascia and will be re-evaluated in 10 days. The Nets luckily have Nicolas Claxton who “will probably play more,” according to head coach Steve Nash. Claxton is amazing defensively and his length and lateral quickness has been impressive while allowing him to switch with ease. This is not a downgrade by any means for Brooklyn.
Besides the injury report, the Nets have been fantastic through two games, posting a 19.2 point differential per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass. They’re getting the shots they want and eviscerating this Celtics’ defense, which has no answer for the Nets’ Big Three.
This is not surprising considering the Nets’ starting lineup ( James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin) is +44 while scoring 140.4 points per 100 possessions in the two victories. There’s not enough regular-season data to be reliable for that lineup, but with the first four, excluding Griffin, the Nets had a +22.4 point differential. Even when the Celtics built up a bit of a lead in Game 1 there was never a doubt that the Nets would be able to pull away thanks to their superior talent.
This team’s offense is incredible, but their defense and ability to switch has also proved problematic for this smaller Celtics’ team. Brooklyn has held Boston to just 106.5 points per 100, a mark that would have been bottom four in the league during the regular season.
Boston Can’t Keep Up, So Far
Boston has listed Kemba Walker as questionable with a knee medial bone bruise, so even if he is cleared to play he may have a minutes limit. Keep an eye on his status using our Fantasy Labs Insiders Tool.
When Walker has missed time (along with Jaylen Brown), the Celtics have leaned on rookie Payton Pritchard, who averages 13.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 3.8 3’s in 24.6 minutes. Depending on the lines, I may target a Pritchard prop.
Fortunately for Boston backers, and people that enjoy watching somewhat competitive basketball, Jayson Tatum will play after being poked in the eye by Kevin Durant on Tuesday.
The Celtics have struggled after a surprising start to Game 1, when they took a lead into halftime. The problem is Boston can’t get its shots to fall and it’s not taking nearly enough 3-point shots to help keep up with Brooklyn.
The Celtics’ eFG% over the prior two games is just 47.4%, a sharp downturn from their season-long mark of 54.5%, per Cleaning the Glass. They’ve only taken 32.5% of their shots from 3-point range and although they’ve made 40% of those, that’s not a winning strategy against the Nets’ offensive machine.
I’d love for this to turn into a compelling series, but I’m not convinced Boston has the firepower to keep up with the Nets. Brooklyn’s defense has locked them down and the Celtics don’t have the personnel to attack the Nets in the paint.
The Celtics may have the better coach but unfortunately (or fortunately Nash could probably still drop 10 dimes in 25 minutes), Brad Stevens does not play. Stevens is extremely profitable against the spread (ATS) in the playoffs, but not so much as a home dog. Throughout Stevens’ career, the Celtics are just 4-6 ATS as a home dog, failing to cover by an average margin of 1.95 points.
I think there’s value on the Nets at -7 and if Kemba is ultimately ruled out or limited, this line will only move further in the Nets’ favor. I’ll back the Nets to win, cover, and make this a 3-0 series lead.
Pick: Nets -7