All-Stars Ja Morant and Jayson Tatum are facing off in this marquee matchup of two high-seeded teams on opposite conferences. Tatum and the Boston Celtics eked out a 109-106 win in the initial meeting and will be looking for a season series sweep.
Catch the game tomorrow at 3:00 AM, Manila time.
HOME: Boston Celtics (40-16, 22-7 HOME)
Projected starting five:
- Derrick White
- Sam Hauser
- Jayson Tatum
- Grant Williams (Al Horford is probable)
- Robert Williams
The Celtics are carrying on well without their other All-Star wing, Jaylen Brown (face). They will head to tomorrow’s contest having won three-straight, where they’ve showcased their well-oiled squad on both ends. Right after limiting Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers to just 99 points, they then went on to sink 25 threes against the Charlotte Hornets.
All-Star Jayson Tatum (30.6 PPG) is fresh-off a 41-point performance against the East-bottoming Hornets. Though it’s not one to get too proud about, we can expect that it help built good rhythm and confidence. Note that he scored 39 points (25 in the first half) in their aforementioned win over the Grizzlies earlier in the season.
With Brown out, the main secondary role will be a toss-up again, though it can very well be Derrick White once more. The veteran guard has 25.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game over his last three, and is also on the heels of splashing eight threes en route to 33 points, both of which are career-highs.
The Celtics are fifth in the league in scoring at 117.4 PPG while also ranking first in point differential and defensive rating. They are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
AWAY: Memphis Grizzlies (34-21, 11-16 AWAY)
Projected starting five:
- Ja Morant
- Desmond Bane
- Dillon Brooks
- Xavier Tillman
- Jaren Jackson Jr.
After a horrific losing stretch that saw them drop eight out of nine games, the Grizzlies are back on their good mojo. They have now won back-to-back contests in one-sided fashion, similar to Boston’s last two performances as it featured solid defense and offense, interestingly enough. After holding the Chicago Bulls to 89 points on 36.8% shooting, they ran over the Minnesota Timberwolves for 128 points with a smooth accuracy of 58.3%.
As always, we should see their own All-Star, Ja Morant (27.5 PPG, 8.3 APG), waste no time making his presence felt. He had 30 points, eight boards, nine dimes, and a pair of steals versus the Celtics last November, and he’s at 30.5 PPG across his last four outings.
Resident swingmen Desmond Bane (21.5 PPG) and Dillon Brooks (14.9 PPG) will be in for a battle against Boston’s defense. The latter, in particular, was abysmal in the last meeting. He fouled out and was only 6-for-17 (0/4 from three) for 13 points. Lastly, top Defensive Player of the Year candidate Jaren Jackson Jr. is slated to have a busy day in the paint.
The Grizzlies are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Handicap: The Celtics (-4) are always smooth at home. They should be able to win and cover the spread.
Over/Under: Going over (229.5) looks good.