Celtics @ Nuggets January 29 Free Pick


The Celtics’ four-game road trip comes to a conclusion tonight in Denver, where they will look to finish 2–2 before coming back home to take on the Knicks.

Boston split two games in Los Angeles to start, losing to the Lakers and defeating the Clippers, before dropping a tight game in Golden State, unable to overcome Steph Curry’s 49 points. Denver isn’t Golden State but the Pepsi Center is no easy place to play and Boston is the slightest of underdogs in Monday night’s matchup.

Free Pick

Denver would be more than a one-point favorite if it didn’t play last night. It took a fourth quarter comeback for the Nuggets to eek out a win over Dallas at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won each of the first two quarters by four points to carry an eight-point advantage into halftime. Then the Mavs exploded for a +16 third quarter before Denver won the fourth by ten to escape with a two-point victory.

The Nuggets did not shoot the ball well, hence the 91 points at home, which was at their second-lowest home total of the season. Only Gary Harris shot the ball well, scoring 24 points on 8-of-16 from the field, which included 3-for-7 shooting from three-point range.

Harris has been fantastic in his fourth season in the league. He’s continued to set new career-highs in each new season and is averaging just under 18 points and 3.2 assists per game, which are both career-highs. He’s shooting over 49 percent from the field, which includes just under 39 percent from three, only small drop-offs from last season, which counteracts the uptick in volume. Harris will likely matchup with Jayson Tatum between two smooth shooting guards who rely on footwork and technique rather than athleticism for their production. That will be a fun duel to watch.

Harris was Denver’s star in Boston the first time these two teams played. He shot 18-for-25 and scored 36 points, while Tatum was 6-for-9 with 15. The Nuggets, who were without Nikola Jokic, lost by six to the Celtics, who played  without Al Horford. Both of those bigs will be available tonight.

I’m less concerned about Denver’s back-to-back than I am about Boston coming down from a big, but empty, effort in Golden State. The Nuggets played in the afternoon on Sunday, which gave them some extra time to rest and they stay right at home anyway. The Celtics are going to come down to some extent after their max effort on Saturday night. At the Pepsi Center, Denver should win the game and I think it will.

Free Pick: Denver -1

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