The Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets, two of the top teams in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference, will face off on the hardwood in New York City on Thursday night. The Celtics are currently leading the Atlantic Division by 1.5 games over the Nets, who hold the second spot in the division and in the Eastern Conference.
Boston is coming off a home game against New Orleans on Wednesday night, so this match marks the second game of a back-to-back situation for them. In their previous game, they defeated the Chicago Bulls at home, 107-99, on Monday night, but failed to cover the line as a 9.5-point favorite in that game. Brooklyn, on the other hand, recently edged Miami on the road, 102-101, on Sunday afternoon, but also failed to cover as a two-point favorite.
In the all-time regular season series between the teams, Boston holds a 135-73 advantage and has won the last four meetings. This includes a 103-92 road win in the first meeting this season on December 4, 2022.
The Celtics have been impressive in the second game of back-to-back situations this season, posting a 6-0 mark with a +12.5-point per game scoring differential (125.7 points per game for, 113.2 points per game against) so far. They are also 13-7 on the road this season, with a +2-point per game scoring margin (115 points per game for, 113 points per game against) going into this game. Additionally, the Celtics are 16-8 against teams from the Eastern Conference, with a +6.2-point per game scoring differential (118.5 points per game for, 112.3 points per game against) on the year.
For the season, the Celtics are second in the league in scoring offense, averaging 118.5 points per game. They are also 11th in the league in rebounding, with 44 boards per contest, and 6th in assists, averaging 26.7 assists per game. Defensively, the Celtics are 13th in the league in scoring defense, allowing 112.6 points per contest.
Leading the way for the Celtics are Jaylen Brown, who averages 26.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest, Jayson Tatum with 30.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per contest, and Malcolm Brogdon, who contributes 13.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. Other key contributors include Al Horford (9.2 points, 6.4 rebounds) and Grant Williams (nine points) in the frontcourt, and Marcus Smart (11.1 points, 7.2 assists), Derrick White (9.9 points, 3.4 assists), Payton Pritchard, Sam Hauser, and Blake Griffin in the rotation.
The Celtics are shooting 47.8% from the floor this season, which is 11th in the league, and they are also second in the league in threes per game with 15.5, while shooting 37.1% from beyond the arc, which is good for 8th in the league.
On the injury front, Danilo Gallinari (knee) is expected to miss the entire season due to an ACL tear, and Marcus Smart (knee) and Grant Williams III (knee) are considered day-to-day and were questionable for Wednesday’s game.
For Brooklyn, they enter this game after recording their 18th win in the last 20 games, a resurgence that has seen them rise to 27-13 on the season, 1.5 games behind the Celtics for the top spot in both the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference standings. In their most recent game, they held off Miami on the road, with a clutch performance from Royce O’Neale who scored the winning bucket with four seconds left on the clock. The game was close throughout with Brooklyn leading by one after the first quarter, by two at halftime and trailing by three after three quarters, but they were able to outscore the Heat 21-11 in the final stretch to earn the win.
For the season, Brooklyn is 14th in the league in scoring offense, averaging 114.6 points per game, and they are led by Kyrie Irving who averages 29 points and 6 assists per game. The Nets have a strong defense and they are 8th in the league in scoring defense, allowing 109.6 points per game. They are also good in rebound and they are 6th in the league averaging 47.1 rebounds per game.
As the game approaches, both teams will be looking to stay hot and continue their winning ways. The Celtics will be looking to continue their impressive record in the second game of back-to-back situations and solidify their hold on the top spot in the division and conference. Meanwhile, the Nets will be looking to close the gap and claim the top spot for themselves. With both teams boasting strong offenses and defenses, this matchup is sure to be a thrilling and highly competitive game.
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