Who’s going to stop the rampaging Boston Celtics? The Denver Nuggets will look to become the answer to that question as they play Jayson Tatum and company at TD Garden Saturday morning.
Catch this game live on Saturday, February 12, at 8:30 AM, Manila time.
Away: Denver Nuggets (30-24/15-14 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Monte Morris
- SG: Will Barton
- SF: Aaron Gordon
- PF: Jeff Green
- C: Nikola Jokic
The Nuggets are getting their groove back. Following a string of losses to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, and the New Orleans Pelicans, Denver has scored back-to-back victories over the Brooklyn Nets (124-104) and the New York Knicks (132-115) – both at home. Buckets have been easy to come by for the Nuggets of late, as they have averaged 128 points on 53.1 FG% in their last two games. Six Nuggets averaged at least 10 points in that span, including guys we never hear a lot like Bones Hyland (14.0 PPG) and Zeke Nnaji (10.5 PPG).
had 22 points off the bench in the Knicks game, while Nnaji chipped in 11 points with seven rebounds. JaMychal Green added 20 points for Denver’s second unit that outscored its Knicks counterparts, 61-34. As much as the Nuggets are primarily about how far Nikola Jokic will take them, their bench could play a bigger factor in this game. Nuggets backups have put up an average of 46.4 points in the last four games, fourth-most in the league in that span. Denver enters Saturday’s showdown against the Celtics with a 3-1-1 record against the spread in their last five games following a victory.
Home: Boston Celtics (31-25/18-10 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Marcus Smart
- SG: Jaylen Brown
- SF: Jayson Tatum
- PF: Al Horford
- C: Robert Williams
Boston is in the midst of a lengthy win streak, having won all of its past six games. The Celtics are coming off a 126-91 demolition job of the Brooklyn Nets on the road last Wednesday before deservedly enjoying two days of full rest. Something is clicking right for the Celtics, which is underscored by the five wins of at least 29 points in their last nine outings. The pair of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum has unsurprisingly played a big role in the Celtics’ resurgence. Brown has put up an average of 22.7 points on 51.5 FG% in the last six Boston games, while Tatum mustered 22.5 points on 48.6 FG%.
That said, it’s the collective effort on defense that is propelling the Celtics. In four games in February, the Celtics have limited opponents to just 93.5 points on 37.28 FG%, both the best marks in the league, so far this month. Jokic is going to get his numbers, but his supporting cast out in the wings and in the backcourt could be running into a brick wall here, with Tatum, Brown, and Smart locked in defensively. That’s not to say that Robert Williams and Al Horford can’t get things done defensively against the Serbian, as the Celtics are allowing the fewest points per game to opposing frontcourts this season.
Spread: Both teams are hot, but it’s the Celtics who have been hotter. And they’re playing at home too against a Nuggets team that is only 15-14 on the road (Boston is 18-10 at home) this season. Taking the Celtics (-4.5).
Over/Under: Denver and Boston are 23rd and 24th, respectively, in terms of pace. Look for an Under (217.5) hit in this game.