I couldn’t have passed over the Indiana-Miami game much faster than I did this morning, so it was a relief to see the Celtics and Spurs in the late game. Both teams are off of some rest, one day for San Antonio after massacring the Nets and two for the C’s who couldn’t finish the Thunder on Sunday. My guess is the Spurs beat Brooklyn so badly because Gregg Popovich was (especially) mad. Has he returned to his jovial self? Boston continues to play without Isaiah Thomas, who will miss his fourth straight game with a groin injury.
Life without The Little Guy didn’t look so hard against the Orlando Magic defense – the Celtics put up 117 in that one. Then they played well in first half against Toronto last Friday night but kind of got away from what had been working so well. They blew their double-digit lead in that one and then coughed it up in the fourth quarter in OKC.
But Boston covered in that one, in Orlando, and very nearly against the Raptors too, despite the frustrating second half. Terry Rozier has fans talking about his ceiling and Jaylen Brown looks to have taken a turn for the better. Al Horford is doing more for his team these days than he ever did with the Hawks and the Celtics are exceeding what Vegas expected of them without their leading scorer.
I expect both teams will play well tonight (Brad and Pop seem to inspire something extra in other other). The difference is that when the Spurs play well there isn’t much the common opponent can do. San Antonio has a knockout in each fist, while the Celtics still rely on the TKO. If Aldridge neutralizes Horford and with Kawhi running with Crowder, where will the underdogs get their scoring?
Pick: Spurs -7.5
*Update: No LaMarcus Aldridge. We won’t change the play but new line is San Antonio -6.