Some of the top young talent in the NBA will be on display Tuesday night when the Boston Celtics visit the Dallas Mavericks. The expectations were high for both clubs entering the season and they’ve fallen well below those goals so far. But at least one team will feel better when this contest is done. The Celtics will try to rebound from an overtime loss at New Orleans where they blew a 24-point second half lead to fall back to .500. The Mavs looked to be headed in the right direction winning four straight before bowing to Portland. Bookmaker.eu offers a generous welcome CASH bonus (max CASH bonus $1600).
Boston Celtics at Dallas Mavericks
Date and Time: Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
Opening NBA Odds: Boston -1.5 /Total 226.5
Celtics at Mavericks TV Coverage: TNT
It’s been nearly a month since the Celtics had a winning streak longer than one game. Since beating Chicago and Cleveland last month the Celtics are just 5-9 SU and 6-8 ATS. They’ve lost four straight on the road going 0-4 ATS and suffered a potential crushing defeat last time out. The C’s led by 24 points midway through the third quarter before going cold and allowing the Pelicans to catch them. Boston lost in overtime 120-115. The Celtics are 7-10 SU and 6-11 ATS on the road as they play the middle game of a three-game set. The Mavs will play the second of a back-to-back after hosting Memphis on Monday. They should be rested, though, since they had a week off when their matchup with Houston was postponed over weather-related issues. Dallas had won four consecutive games before falling to Portland 121-118 on Valentine’s Day. And until the Mavs figure things out it might be wise to avoid them at the betting window. They are just 2-11 ATS in their last 13 games and 6-8 SU and 3-11 ATS at home.
When your GM says the “roster is obviously not good” that’s likely a sign that something is going to happen. It could merely be frustration boiling over on the part of Danny Ainge since the club has been inconsistent for a month now. In their last four games the Celtics beat Denver 112-99 and Atlanta 121-109. They also lost to the Hawks and blew a huge lead in New Orleans. There hasn’t been any middle ground with the Celtics in the last month. To put things in perspective they lead the Knicks and Hornets by a half-game in the Eastern Conference standings entering the week.
It’s hard to imagine not including the Celtics among the top teams in the East. They’ve been there for the last several years and still have the main pieces of the team that got them to those lofty heights. Gordon Hayward and Enes Kanter are fine players, but they certainly weren’t the difference-makers. That falls on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and while both have put up solid numbers the wins haven’t followed. At this point we can stop blaming COVID and man-games lost due to the virus. Kemba Walker returned from his offseason injury and is finally getting into a groove. The biggest loss is Marcus Smart, the team’s best defender and fourth-leading scorer. Smart is expected to be out until after the All-Star break so the rest of the team better figure things out fast.
Luka Doncic did all he could to extend Dallas’ winning streak. But he didn’t hit the game-tying three-pointer in a 121-118 loss to Portland. Doncic finished with 44 points hitting 14 of 20 shots, but the last one lingered with him. “I should have hit that shot,” he said. That sounds like a confident player and there’s no arguing that Doncic is one of the best. The game before Doncic scored a career-best 46 points and he has three 40-point games in the last five outings. The problem is that he isn’t getting much help. “I’ve got to try to get some more balance in our attack. It’s just a lot o ask of Luka to put the 40-point stat-stuffer nights on a night-in, night-out basis,” Rick Carlisle said.
Kristaps Porzingis is one player the Mavs are counting on to help out, but his return from knee surgery has been spotty. Porzingis scored 18 points against Portland one game after dropping 36 in a win over the Pels. And what’s worse is that the big fella is a liability on defense. His defensive rating is the worst of any player in the league averaging at least 20 minutes per game. “He’s had to play his way into shape and it just hasn’t been the same,” Carlisle said.
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In a game between two evenly-matched squads I’d lean toward the home team. But in this case the Mavs haven’t been good on their own floor. And what’s worse is Dallas could sit Porzingis in the second of a back-to-back. Like most of the NBA experts I’m waiting for the Celtics to snap out of their funk, though that may not happen. They did get a jolt from their GM, though, and that’s going to spark them in this game.
NBA Score Prediction: Celtics 114, Mavericks 105
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– Phil Simon, Gambling911.com