In his five years as a Celtic, Ray Allen was treated with both love and respect in Boston, more so after helping to deliver the franchise’s latest championship. He might not get such a warm welcome on Sunday, however. He returns on Sunday for the first time since he skipped town to join the Miami Heat last summer.
When these sides met on the opening day of the season in Florida, there was a cool reception for Allen from his former team-mates but he had the last laugh as Miami won 120-107. And after six consecutive losses, many in Boston might surely wish their former star was still in a green uniform.
With defeats to the likes of Atlanta, Cleveland and Detroit in the past week, the Celtics' only good fortune has been the gap that existed between eighth and ninth place in the Eastern Conference. But if they continue to play as they are, their hold on a play-off spot might grow increasingly fragile.
Miami remain in front of New York on top of the East and after four consecutive wins, they’re the form team. But they’re a paltry 10-9 on the road this season and in a clash which is always heated, don’t rule out Boston on the handicap of +3.5 at 1.91.
It’s one thing for the Los Angeles Lakers to look impressive against the Utah Jazz. It’s a totally different ball game for them to impress when Oklahoma City come calling. On Friday, the Lakers delivered something resembling a team performance to beat Utah 102-84 and end a four-games skid. However it’s a little premature to start declaring that all their problems have been solved.
The Thunder have beaten the Lakers nine times out of eleven, including a 116-101 win 16 days ago, and their dominant 105.9 points per game is going to challenge their hosts. OKC are favoured on the handicap at -3.5 at 1.91 but this is a game where the total points should go over 206.0, available at 1.91.
Bet of the day: Take the Thunder over the Lakers on the handicap.