With a little lull between the end of the MLB season and the start of college hoops, I plan to dabble in a little bit of NBA action. The Boston Celtics are one of the most intriguing teams in the league (to me) this season. And they visit a team that has to be considered one of the top three of four early season favorites to win the championship this season. Brad Stevens vs. Rick Carlisle should be a good one on Monday night down South. The home Mavs are a full 10-point favorite.
Admittedly, I do have a rooting interest with the Celtics, but the team interests me based on the personnel its worked hard to start to put together over the last two seasons. Almost every player on Boston’s roster had notable college success winning at a major program. Instead of drafting “upside” guys who have athleticism many scouts project to the NBA level, the Celtics have acquired guys like Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, and Tyler Zeller. Brad Stevens has quickly surrounded himself with young, hungry players who have won at the college level. And that doesn’t make the Celtics a legitimate contender in 2014/2015, but it’s a heck of a start. The C’s have the man-power to rotate through at least 10-11 bodies a game and keep everyone relatively fresh. And Stevens has his team running and dictating the pace of play whenever possible. After hanging 121 on Brooklyn on opening night, the Celtics scored 90 against Houston in a game where they went 1/25 from three. Rondo and company will continue to run whenever they can, and Dallas might just oblige.
The Mavs have some firepower of their own. And they might not necessarily look to run, but the Mavericks can play at just about any pace. They have hit triple figures in all three of their games, while also letting their opposition hit the century mark each time too. Dallas has some capable defensive players – namely Tyson Chandler. But there are certainly some holes, too. None of the other four starters are particularly good defenders, which makes me think this game could see some serious scoring with what should be a pretty fast game with many possessions and not a ton of hard defense being played. The number is high, but it’s high for a reason.
Free Pick: Over 209.5