In what may end up being the largest spread of the entire postseason, the Nets are 12 point favorites (and 12.5 in some places) against the Celtics on Tuesday night. The Nets rebounded from a Game 3 loss with a 141-126 victory on Sunday, covering the -8.5 spread.
Brooklyn’s three wins in this series are by margins of 11, 22, and 15. The Celtics have also not covered in any of their last eight games in Brooklyn.
To win Game 5, the Celtics need to contain Brooklyn’s three stars. While that sounds incredibly obvious, the trio of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden combined to score a ridiculous 104 points on Sunday. Realistically, if the Celtics are going to pull the stunner they need to hold the trio to under 80 points, which seems feasible.
Brooklyn is too good for Boston, but a line of -12 just seems too high here.
The Pick: Celtics +12
Denver and Portland had 72 hours to prepare for this pivotal Game 5 of a series that has mostly featured blowouts so far. Portland evened the series with a 115-95 win on Saturday as a -4.5 home favorite. Dating back to Portland’s win in each team’s regular season finale, four of the last five contests between these teams have been decided by at least 14 points, with the sole exception being Denver’s Game 3 120-115 win on the road.
Portland’s backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum was held to just 31 points on 10 of 29 shooting in Game 4, but the Blazers still won by 20. How did that happen? Norman Powell poured in 29 points for Portland, Jusuf Nurkic added 17 points and a stifling Blazers defense held Denver to 34% shooting.
The smart money says that Denver isn’t going to miss that many shots two games in a row, particularly Nikola Jokic, who shot a miserable-by-his-standards 7 for 18 from the floor. You have to like how low the line is here if you are a Denver bettor.
The Pick: Nuggets -1.5
We already know Anthony Davis will not be playing in Phoenix on Tuesday night. It should be worth noting that Davis may have been a net negative in Sunday’s loss, shooting 2 for 9 from the floor before exiting with an injury and a -8 plus-mins. While Los Angeles saw the bench chip in, as Kyle Kuzma, Marc Gasol, and Alex Caruso all scored in double figures, it was the Lakers’ other starters who let down Lebron James. Dennis Schroder shot 3 of 13 from the floor and the Lakers were outscored by 15 when Wes Matthews was on the court. Lebron will need a second player to step up in Davis’s absence, unless he decides to have a Jayson Tatum–type game where he scores 50+ and single-handedly wins the game for the Lakers.
While the Lakers will miss Anthony Davis offensively, they have no one to stop Deandre Ayton, who scored 14 points and grabbed 17 rebounds on Sunday.
The Lakers have been an excellent road team this season, going 22-16 but the Suns are 28-10 at home. The Lakers are also a shocking 5-17 outright as an underdog this season, while Phoenix is 44-17 as a favorite.
The Pick: Suns -5