If you think that the things can`t go any worse – reality comes and proves you wrong. Boston has lost 16 games in a row, Tony Allen and Theo Ratliff are out with season ending injuries and Paul Pierce (coming close to return) experienced a fever and was hospitalized with infected left elbow. Wally Szczerbiak, who looked solid against the Heat, sprained his ankle after stepping on his own teammate`s foot. He is listed day-to-day, but is most probably out. So due to injuries the Celtics lack almost everything – momentum, belief and most importantly quality players.
The Nets are going through some frustrating times. They have recently lost many games by a 1 or 2 points margin. Starting from 22nd of January they have lost by a point to the Jazz, Warriors and Clippers and by 2 points to the Hawks and Sixers. They are 3-7 over the last 10 games, but feel they should be 6-4 at least. So many games have been close over the past few weeks, that the Nets must surely feel they need some win with a solid margin and are desperate to put their opponents away early. Right now there can`t be a better candidate for this job than the Celtics.
There is a bright side of the story for the Celtics. Boston may be losing right now, but worse record gives them higher chances to get nr.1 pick for the next years draft lottery. The chances to get to the play-offs this year are gone anyway. That doesn’t mean they will lose on purpose, but coach Doc Rivers is happy to play his youngster`s as there are no high expectations from the Celtics management and the audience anyway. Pierce is not rushed to get back and we expect the struggling Celtics to keep losing.
Even though not having Jefferson and Krstic due to injuries, the Nets are by far the better team here. The Celtics will sooner or later end its losing streak, but the angry Nets team is right now well motivated and does not have a room for underestimating its opponents. We expect the Nets to put the hammer down fast and win with quite a margin. Medium+ stakes!
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