After taking a few days off for you to get ready for March Madness, we are back! It’s a sneaky good card today, and it starts early on the West Coast. Before we dive into the day's games, let’s take a quick look at the biggest story of the day yesterday in the NBA: the Boston Celtics.
Brad Stevens had to quell the ridiculous rumors about his interest in the Indiana job yesterday, but Boston followed that up with a home loss to the worst defensive team in the league. The Celtics managed just 1.032 points per possession against a team that gives up 119.4 points every 100 possessions on the season. In half-court situations, Boston put up just 0.909 points per play, an issue that has plagued them all season long. The loss is the Celtics' third straight both SU and ATS, and they are now just seven losses from clinching the under on their win total.
Boston has a massive trade exception to use before the deadline, and has been tied to players like Harrison Barnes by media reports. However, the more this team plays, the more I personally believe there is no move they can make, outside of acquiring LeBron James, that will fix what ails them.
Updated injury reports can be found here.
Updated odds for every game can be found here.
Atlanta Hawks at Los Angeles Lakers (-4, 223.5)
Life for Atlanta has been good under interim coach Nate McMillan. The Hawks are in the midst of a 7-0 SU/5-1-1 ATS run that has put them in control of the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta has been firing on all cylinders during this run, ranking fifth in offensive efficiency (118.0), fourth in defensive efficiency (105.9) and second in net rating (+ 12.1) over this seven-game stretch.
However, Los Angeles will be the first real test for this Hawks team that has been taking advantage of a soft schedule. Five of their seven opponents during this win streak rank 25th or lower in net rating on the season, and five rank 20th or lower in offensive efficiency! Atlanta is getting healthier, and playing better basketball, but the market seems to be overvaluing a run of wins against lesser competition.