Boston hosts Denver tonight in an inter conference matchup from the TD Garden with tip-off scheduled for 7:30pm EST. This will be the first meeting of the season for the Celtics and Nuggets, with the second meeting scheduled in March. Denver comes into this game having won two straight contests and seven of ten overall. They hold a record of 30-24 and sit in the sixth spot of the Western Conference playoffs currently. They are 15-14 away from Denver and will look to grab a needed road victory. As for Boston, they are rolling right now having won six straight and eight of their last ten overall. They have jumped up to the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference standings after a slow start to the year. They are 18-10 at home and are looking to keep their winning ways going. This game features some star power with Nikola Jokic and Jayson Tatum so it should be an intriguing game to watch.
How Denver can win: The Nuggets haven’t been the same team on the road this season that they are in Denver, and it reflects in their record. Denver gives them a nice home court advantage, but good NBA teams also need to learn how to win consistently on the road. They have dealt with some injuries this season to some core players, but center Nikola Jokic has kept them afloat. Jokic is averaging 25.8 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game while shooting 57.8 percent from the field. His ability to post up and then accurately kick the ball out to shooters is what makes him such an asset for this Nuggets team. He is one of the best passing big men in the game and allows easy looks for his teammates every time out on the court. He will likely be matched up with Robert Williams from Boston and while Williams is good defensively, he likely won’t be able to match Jokic.
In order to beat Boston, the Nuggets will need others to step up in this game. Will Barton has looked good of late, averaging 16.9 points over the last ten games for Denver so they’ll need him to keep it up. One key for Denver will be the turnover battle as they are 15-5 overall when they win the turnover battle. If they can limit turnovers in this game and not allow Boston to get east transition points, the Nuggets could take this game.
How Boston can win: First and foremost, the key to beating Denver is attempting to limit Nikola Jokic. This is easier said than done and Boston will have its hands full with him but if they can take away some passing lanes, it could cause issues for Denver. Center Robert Williams is going to need to play well in this game for Boston to keep Jokic at bay. Offensively, Williams has played well this season as he is averaging 9.8 points and 9.5 rebounds a game, giving Boston a true center. Along with him, the Celtics do have some stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. During the Celtics recent hot streak, these two have led the way and really stepped up. Brown is averaging 23.9 points and 6.5 rebounds a game while Tatum is averaging 25.5 points and 8.4 rebounds.
This duo has come on strong and really propelled Boston up in the standings. Coming into the season with a new coach and new system, it seems that they just needed some time before things started to click. This Boston team can be really good because they can shoot the ball effectively and play really good defense as well. Against Denver, this team will need to score the ball and create easy points for themselves.
The Spread Via FanDuel:
Moneyline: DEN: (+180) | BOS: (-215)
Spread: DEN: +5 (-110) | BOS: -5 (-110)
Final Prediction: Boston Celtics 116 Denver Nuggets 104
–Denver really isn’t the same team away from the friendly home advantage that is Ball Arena so I’m rolling with the Celtics to get the win. Tatum and Brown should give the Nuggets some fits due to their length and Boston will benefit from it. Give me the Celtics to defend their home court and pick up another victory here.