After going to triple overtime when they met last week, few teams needed the All Star break to arrive as much as Boston and Denver.
Now, after four days of mid-season respite in Houston, it’s back to business for the NBA on Tuesday night, as the run-in to the play-offs gets under way.
The Celtics, All Star Kevin Garnett apart, seized the chance of some time off after surviving the loss of three key players to win eight of their last nine games. Their toughest was their 118-114 defeat of the Nuggets which ended a nine-game winning streak for George Karl’s men.
Paul Pierce had a game-high 27 points then and he’s available at 1.85 to score over 17.5 points tonight.
The Celtics are a huge 4.62 to claim a repeat victory in regulation, with Denver at -8.5 on the handicap. Bear in mind though that Boston haven’t lost by that much since an upset by Detroit 30 days ago.
Golden State will hope that the All Star hiatus can bring some renewed momentum after a slump that has seen them lose five game in a row. It’s dropped the Warriors to sixth in the Western Conference but they might get a lift from Andrew Bogut, with the Australian centre expected to feature in every game now following his gradual return from injury.
They head to the Utah Jazz this evening with their hosts buoyed by successive wins over Oklahoma City and Minnesota last week. They may, however, be unsettled by trade rumours involving Paul Millisap and the arrest of assistant coach Sidney Lowe and that could give the Warriors a shot on the handicap where they’re +3 at 1.91.
The two worst teams in the NBA face off when Orlando meet Charlotte and the Bobcats could use a lift following 35 losses in their last 40 games.
They’ve heavily under-performed and evidence of the trouble within the camp came with the revelations of a spat between coach Mike Dunlap and veteran guard Ben Gordon.
That should make them players at the upcoming trade deadline but in the short-term, the only way is up. They’re at 2.72 to win here in a game which seems unlikely to go over the line of 196.5 total points.
Bet of the Day: Take Golden State to beat Utah
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