The wilderness isn’t the natural habit for the Boston Celtics but with a rebuilding project under way in Beantown, it figures to be brutal spell out of the spotlight for a franchise that won the last of its 17 NBA championships just five years ago.
With the Big Three era over, and Rajon Rondo sidelined, it’s a cast of unknowns for new coach Brad Stevens to nurture. Even on Friday night, when they led Milwaukee by 22, that collective inexperience showed when they ended up sustaining a second straight loss to start the new season.
Out-scored by an average of 6.5 points to date, Boston’s porous defence will come under threat on Sunday when they visit the Detroit Pistons, who have averaged 110.5 points in splitting their two games so far, with Greg Monroe and Josh Smith proving productive. That new-look frontcourt will be hard for the Celtics to stop with their hopes pinned on unheralded Brazilian centre Vitor Faverani.
Detroit could be a playoff contender this term while the Celtics are destined to fall. Look at the Pistons on the match handicap and go over the total points line.
Despite losing Smith to Detroit, the Atlanta Hawks still upgraded their own frontcourt with the addition of Paul Millsap. That could prove a handful for Pau Gasol and the Los Angeles Lakers tonight, unless Chris Kaman delivers some defensive help.
In a 1-1 start, the surprise is that the Hawks gave up 118 points in their opener before limiting Toronto to 95 to give rookie coach Mike Budenholzer his first win. More of the same and it’s worth a punt with Atlanta on the match handicap but look under the total points line with the Lakers limited in their offensive options.
Take Detroit -9.5 on the match handicap over Boston at 1.91
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