The Utah Jazz were more than grateful for the day off on Tuesday, but now it’s time to stretch those legs again on Wednesday against the Boston Celtics.
The Jazz blew out the Nets two days ago, just 24 hours after losing a quadruple-overtime clash with Atlanta, and Al Jefferson will look to dish out similar punishment to the Celtics. March has been the centre’s most productive month so far this season and remarkably, his points production after 24 hours rest (21.7ppg) is hugely greater than on back to backs (16.5).
With Jermaine O’Neal injured, Boston has had to use a rotation of Kevin Garnett and Greg Stiemsma in the middle. That’s been fine on certain nights but with Jefferson and Paul Millsap providing an imposing one-two punch, the Celtics might struggle to maintain its current streak of six straight home wins.
Elsewhere, the New York Knicks host Orlando for the first of two clashes in eight days with injuries a real problem for coach Mike Woodson. Amare Stoudemire is out indefinitely, Jeremy Lin has a bruised knee and Carmelo Anthony will be a late decision after tweaking his groin in Monday’s win over Milwaukee.
The Magic have enough weapons to capitalise with Ryan Anderson producing two of his highest-scoring performances over the last three games. Even if Anthony recovers, Orlando should look to win bigger than the nine-point victory they claimed over the Knicks in January – when Anderson had a season-high 30 points.
The Phoenix Suns will look to clinch a 3-0 series victory over the Los Angeles Clippers but might again be without Grant Hill. Although the Clippers have won two consecutive games at home to ease the pressure on coach Vinny Del Negro, they remain vulnerable and with the Suns scrambling to make the play-offs, odds of 6.5 on a win for them is generous.
Bet of the day: Utah Jazz to beat the Boston Celtics at 3.5.