May 25, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Boston Celtics small forward Jayson Tatum (0) controls the ball against Brooklyn Nets power forward Kevin Durant (7) during the first quarter of game two of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets matchup on Sunday, March, 6th
Boston has a five-game advantage over Brooklyn in the loss column
Read below for the latest Celtics vs Nets odds and best bets
The Boston Celtics have surged in 2022. The Brooklyn Nets have gone the other way, hit by trade chaos and injuries. Kevin Durant is back for the Nets, and the pressure is on as they look to avoid slipping into the bottom half of the Eastern Conference Play-In.
Boston is looking ahead. They could yet fall to fourth, but with how they’ve played so far this year, it’s far more likely they make the leap to earn homecourt advantage in the first round. They are just two back in the loss column from third-placed Milwaukee coming into this one.
While they have played well of late, the Cs are just 13-17 against the spread as home favorites this season. Of course, they are a facing a Brooklyn team which has the worst ATS record in the league at 24-39-1. Brooklyn is 9-22 straight up since the turn of the year.
Celtics vs Nets Odds
Odds as of Mar 05 at FanDuel
The Celtics’ first half of the season was hit by COVID and injuries, but they have gotten healthy recently. Ime Udoka isn’t without availability concerns, however, with both Aaron Nesmith and Jaylen Brown listed as day-to-day.
An ankle issue caused Brown to miss the win over Memphis last time out. Nesmith sprained his ankle starting in Brown’s place against the Grizz, and it seems unlikely he’ll be available. Udoka opted to keep his bench group together despite Brown’s injury, and it’ll be interesting to see if Derrick White is promoted to the starting lineup if both Brown and Nesmith are unavailable.
By the standards of this season, Brooklyn’s injury report is pretty positive. Kevin Durant is back. Kyrie Irving is available for this game on the road. Joe Harris, who hasn’t played since November, has been ruled out for the season, though, and there is no clarity on the Ben Simmons situation.
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Defense Key for Nets vs Celtics Matchup
Boston has the best defense in the NBA over the last 15 games by a mile . Their rating of 102 is 5.3 points per 100 possessions better than the second-placed team. On the other hand, only the Houston Rockets have a worse defense than the Nets over that period.
Brooklyn’s defense improves with Durant’s return, of course, and the Cs have benefited from some poor opponent shooting.
The Celtics’ offense has been ticking over this run, too. They are sixth in offensive rating across the previous 15 games, with White injecting ball movement and quick decision making.
Even if Brown misses out on Sunday, Boston’s offense should have a lot of joy against this weak Nets defense. They can still run big lineups with Marcus Smart and White in the backcourt, which should prove problematic for the Nets’ undersized guard rotation.
Not many teams in the league are as well-equipped to slow down Irving and Durant as these Celtics when they’re healthy. There are few weak links on defense, and the combination of Robert Williams and Al Horford should limit the effectiveness of Andre Drummond on the boards.
Nets vs Celtics Pick
Boston has the best net rating in 2022. The iso-heavy offense of earlier this season has been replaced by a more varied scheme with Udoka able to mix things up at will. They are not as potent on offense without Brown, but they are still going to be difficult for this Nets team to stop.
Anything is possible when Durant is on the court. He scored 31 on 21 shots on his return from injury, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he torched the Celtics on Sunday.
Ultimately, that’s probably what Brooklyn need if they are to come away from TD Garden with their 33rd win of the season. The combination of Smart and White should be able to contain Irving — not having Brown makes it harder to matchup with Durant.
Until Simmons makes his debut, the Celtics are clearly the more complete team of the two. Boston blew the Nets out twice without Durant, and while it won’t be such an emphatic win on Sunday, there’s value backing the hosts to extend their great run.
Pick: Celtics ML (-148)