The Boston Celtics head to Minnesota to take on a depleted Timberwolves roster. Can the Celtics take advantage of a team missing their three best players? The NBA odds for the Celtics will be high, but are the Celtics the right NBA pick?
Boston Celtics vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
Monday, December 27, 2021 – 08:00 PM EST at Target Center
The Boston Celtics are coming off a heartbreaking loss on Christmas Day against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Celtics were up by 13 with 5 minutes to go, yet they lost to the Bucks by four points. The Celtics offense looked lost during crunch time.
Team leader Jayson Tatum has frustrated fans as he looks brilliant at some points of the game. Yet Tatum was not decisive when the game was on the line. Tatum was not able to come through and the Celtics fell short against an Eastern Conference rival.
Celtics have a 1.1 point differential on the season which is disappointing considering the amount of talent on this roster. The Celtics are 2-3 in their last five and have yet to put together a consistent winning streak. The loss dropped the Celtics to a disappointing 16-17 on the season. The Celtics are 7-11 on the road this year, but the Celtics will be the favorite tonight.
The Celtics are dealing with COVID issues. Bruno Fernando, Justin Jackson, Enes Kanter Freedom, C.J. Miles, and Aaron Nesmith will all miss the game. Josh Richardson, Dennis Schröder, and Grant Williams will all be game-time decisions. The Celtics, like most NBA teams, are dealing with players in and out of the lineup. This makes these games tough to handicap using predictive modeling because of the incomplete data set that we are working with the current lineups.
If you thought that the injury report for the Celtics looked bad, the injury report for the Timberwolves is way worse. Anthony Edwards, D'Angelo Russell, and Karl-Anthony Towns are all on the list.
Edwards is a game-time decision. Russell and Towns will definitely miss the game. Jarred Vanderbilt, Taurean Prince, and Josh Okogie are game-time decisions as well, leaving the Timberwolves vulnerable to cancellation if they lose any more players.
If Edwards misses the game, the Timberwolves will definitely be having problems creating quality shots. Even if Edwards is in, this is a lot to ask for the second-year player to carry a team of mostly backups. Most of the Timberwolves offense is predicated on the scoring ability of Towns and his ability to bring big men out of the paint.
This allowed Edwards and Russell to attack the rim without an opposing center to test their laps. Without Towns in the lineup, the Timberwolves might find finishing at the rim to be a tougher task than usual.
If Edwards misses, the Timberwolves' top scorer in the game will be Malik Beasley, who averages 12 points a game. Beasley is a sharpshooter who spaces the floor but Beasley will have problems creating his own shot against a tough Celtics defense. Beasley will be joined in his extra responsibility by Naz Reid, Jaden McDaniels, and Jaylen Nowell.
While these players are all quality role players, I struggle to see how they will perform at the level necessary to compete without a shot creator on the floor. For the Timberwolves to have a chance to win, it'll be crucial that Anthony Edwards be in the lineup. Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch will have his work cut out for him fielding this depleted lineup.
Jayson Tatum vs. Malik Beasley
Whether or not Edwards plays, Malik Beasley scoring will still be needed for the Timberwolves to keep place with the Celtics. Beasley might also draw the assignment against Tatum as well so these players will be crucial to the outcome of the game.
If Tatum is able to slow down Beasley, it will be hard for the Timberwolves to keep pace with the Celtics. If Beasley takes advantage of this opportunity to showcase that he is more than a “catch and shoot” scorer and proves that he can create off the dribble, the Timberwolves have a great chance to keep this game close.
This weakened Timberwolves team will have problems competing with a Celtics team that will be looking to get back on track. This is a terrible spot for the Timberwolves and hopefully, this young up-and-coming team gets healthy soon.
Beasley is not strong enough to be a number one option against a team chock full of scorers. Lay the Points. Take the Celtics.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.