Two teams on the opposite ends of the Eastern Conference meet for Part 2 of their back-to-back matchup. It’s also a meeting between Jayson Tatum, one of the league’s current top stars, and LaMelo Ball, a recent Rookie of the Year winner who’s deemed to be among the NBA’s best rising youngsters.
Catch the game early tomorrow, January 17th, at 2:00 AM.
HOME: Charlotte Hornets (11-33, 5-15 at home)
Projected starting five:
- LaMelo Ball
- Terry Rozier
- Jaden McDaniels
- PJ Washington
- Mason Plumlee
The Hornets sit at the bottom of the East, and true to their tough year, they have dropped seven of their last eight games. In that stretch, they are averaging a solid 114.6 points but are giving up a whopping 122.3 points.
Part 1 one of their back-to-back with the Celtics this past Saturday saw them get beat, 122-106. As per usual, LaMelo Ball (24.0 PPG, 8.6 APG) led the charge as he posted an all-around 31 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists, albeit through a rough 11-for-27 shooting. Top scorer Terry Rozier, meanwhile, had 21 points. It was a bit better than the one they suffered in their first matchup last November, which was a 35-point blowout.
Charlotte’s team rankings are terrible: 22nd in points, 30th in offensive rating, 28th in points allowed, and 27th in defensive rating. Even worse, the group is battling the team with the best record in the NBA yet again. Simply put, they are in for quite the challenge.
On a slightly brighter note, the Hornets are 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 games following a double-digit loss at home.
AWAY: Boston Celtics (32-12, 15-7 on the road)
Projected starting five:
- Derrick White
- Marcus Smart
- Jayson Tatum
- Al Horford
- Robert Williams
The defending Eastern Conference champion Celtics will continue strutting their way with a swag. They have the best record in the league while currently riding a six-game winning streak, which they have won by an average of 13.3 points.
Number two man Jaylen Brown is out again with an adductor injury, but his absence shouldn’t be an issue. Saturday’s aforementioned win over the Hornets saw Boston’s next man up mentality in full display – with Jayson Tatum powering through for 33 points, floor general Malcolm Brogdon came off the bench to rattle off 30 on a solid 11-for-17 shooting.
Tatum (30.6 PPG), the probably MVP by year’s end, will remain as the juggernaut threat. What’s more dangerous is it’s anyone’s guess as to who will explode right next to him – Brogdon, Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Al Horford, etc. The Celtics’ top-rated offense (2nd in points, 1st in offensive rating) is dynamic and can allow multiple players to shine and get featured at any given day.
The Celtics are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games following a win against the spread.
Handicap: The Celtics (-8) look good to extend their winning streak to seven and also cover the spread.
Over/Under: It’s the Celtics super offense vs. the Hornets’ all-offense, woeful defense style. Going over 232 could be good.