It’s two of the most inconsistent teams in the NBA squaring off Monday night as the Indiana Pacers visit the Boston Celtics. Which way to lean at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks?
Indiana Pacers vs. Boston Celtics
Monday, January 10, 2022 – 07:30 PM EST at TD Garden
Seven games on the NBA schedule Monday, and this features two of the most inconsistent and disappointing teams in the league. Both Indiana and Boston can look terrific one night and then atrocious the next.
We are a few months into the season and yet this is their first of four meetings. They will play again in Indianapolis on Wednesday. Last season, they played three close games and Boston won two, including the lone one at home 118-112. Jayson Tatum averaged 20.3 points and 10.3 rebounds in the three and Jaylen Brown 17.7 points. Domantas Sabonis averaged 19.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists for Indiana and Malcolm Brogdon 18.7 points and 6.0 assists.
Boston is 6-2-2 against the spread in the past 10 meetings. The total has gone over in five of the previous six.
Pacers Still Facing Covid Issues
Here’s proof of how weird Indiana is: The Pacers entered Saturday’s home game vs. Utah on a six-game losing streak yet then easily handled one of the NBA’s best teams 125-113. Yes, it certainly helped that the Jazz were without Rudy Gobert, but still.
Without having to worry about Gobert blocking shots, Domantas Sabonis dominated with a career-high 42 points, making an absurd 18 of 22 shots. Lance Stephenson contributed 16 points, a career-high 14 assists and four steals off the bench for the Pacers. That dude has been unbelievable since being signed off the street recently and in fact, the team has signed him for the rest of the season.
Both Jeremy Lamb and Chris Duarte returned from COVID protocols to play Saturday. Lamb had five points in 16 minutes and the rookie Duarte nine points in 19 minutes. Torrey Craig cleared protocols on Sunday and practiced so he should be able to go, although Craig usually doesn’t play a ton. The starting backcourt of Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert remains in protocols. On the NBA’s official injury report, Brogdon is listed as questionable and LeVert as out. Rookies Keifer Sykes and Duane Washington Jr. have played pretty well in their place.
Indiana is just 3-15 on the road, with those wins coming in Sacramento, Utah and Chicago. The Pacers are 0-4-1 ATS on the NBA odds in their past five away.
Celtics’ Brown Off Best Game
How wacky has Boston been? The Celtics had a 25-point lead at the Knicks on Thursday and still lost, which prompted a public dressing down by coach Ime Udoka, but then they turned around and beat the visiting Knicks two nights later 99-75.
Jaylen Brown had the first triple-double of his career with 22 points, 11 rebounds and career-high 11 assists in the win. Those 11 helpers were just two fewer than the Knicks had as a team. In his first 13 games, he averaged 2.2 assists per contest. In his last 13 games since returning from a strained hamstring, Brown is averaging 3.5 assists.
"At times, playing in a new position or being more of a playmaker, you want to do everything right,” Brown said. “You want to be exactly what people want you to be when they live up to expectations. But there's some growth that goes into it. Just being able to have that experience in a couple of games where I got to really play with the ball in my hands, be forced to make reads and decisions – it's been great. So, it's all a growth process. Experience has been a great teacher. As I continue to move forward in my career, I'm always looking for ways to get better and simplify the game.”
Jayson Tatum had 19 points and Josh Richardson 17 off the bench. The Celtics outscored the Knicks 42-24 in the paint. It was New York’s fewest points scored in four years. When Brown and Tatum share the court for Boston this season, the Celtics are 4.6 points per 100 possessions better than their opponents in over 500 minutes. Needless to say, they can’t each play 48 minutes per game.
While most teams remain pretty short-handed due to COVID or injury, the Celtics are in pretty good shape. Boston is way too talented to be 19-21 and holding the final Eastern Conference play-in spot. The C’s are 12-9 at home.
They are 0-5 ATS in their past five vs. teams with a losing record. It’d be nice to know if Brogdon will play before making my NBA pick, but simulations I have run have Boston winning by five.
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