The Celtics are currently in the seven-hole for the Eastern Conference playoff race, ready to rock a seven-game homestand. Boston begins this crucial stretch seeking vengeance against New Orleans for a painful 120-115 OT loss suffered on Feb 21. The Celtics led 63-47 at halftime, before proceeding to collapse in the fourth quarter.
It will be exciting to watch the C’s Jayson Tatum and Jalen Brown battle Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson again. Boston is playing with a reshuffled deck of cards and a new sense of purpose, angling towards postseason glory. Our sportsbook cites the Celtics as slight home favorites against the Pelicans on March 29, according to updated NBA odds.
New Orleans has been playing well recently, particularly Zion, but a total team effort is required to hang with Boston. The Celtics are expected to have an additional boost from the 2,400 fans who will be cheering them on. It’s been more than a year since the C’s have had their fanbase supporting them in person, and the timing is perfect.
New Orleans Pelicans at Boston Celtics
NBA Betting Vitals
Point Spread: Pelicans +3½, Celtics -3½
Money Line: Pelicans +140, Celtics -160
Total Points: 230½
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 28, 2021
Clash of Rising Titans: Pelicans vs Celtics
Zion Dominating for Pelicans
Zion Williamson has been playing powerfully good basketball lately, and the Pelicans have won three of their last four games. Williamson has averaged 33.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game during that stretch, shooting 72.3% from the field. The first time All-Star is really rounding into form and should be a force for years to come.
Rick Carlisle on Zion Williamson: “This is a Shaquille O’Neal-type force of nature with a point guard skill set.”
Zion’s last 4 games:
38 PTS, 6 AST, 65% FG
39 PTS, 5 AST, 84% FG
27 PTS, 5 AST, 69% FG
30 PTS, 1 AST, 69% FGpic.twitter.com/QiSLC8tZRl
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) March 28, 2021
However, aside from Williamson and Ingram, the Pelicans don’t have a lot of bite. New Orleans lacks the depth necessary to seriously compete with playoff-caliber teams on a regular basis. The absence of PG Lonzo Ball (hip flexor) has hurt the Pelicans as well, and Ball is questionable to play.
New Addition Kornet Shines for Celtics
Former Bull Luke Kornet took full advantage of his Celtics debut vs the Thunder on March 27. Kornet spun his second-half playing time opportunities into leprechaun gold, scoring eight points in 13 minutes, including two deep 3-pointers. The 7-foot-2 center’s presence was felt on the defensive end as well.
Boston routed Oklahoma City 111-94 on Saturday night, behind a solid and well-balanced overall performance. It was the Celtics’ second straight victory, having defeated the mighty Bucks 122-114 just the night before. Boston is gelling at the right time, and has an excellent chance to march into the East’s top-four playoff echelon.
Pelicans at Celtics: Betting Forecast
The Celtics are 4-1 ATS over their previous five contests and are 7-1 ATS in their last eight Monday games. Boston is 13-7 at TD Garden this season, and that’s been without fans pumping the team-up. New Orleans is a lackluster 6-14 on the road in 2021.
Zion and Ingram can’t carry the Pelicans all on their own, and the Celtics are working well together as a cohesive unit. Boston’s fans will be bellowing from the socially-distanced seating, providing a much-needed injection of passion to start this seven-game homestand. Look for the Celtics to smash the Pelicans on Monday night.
Final score prediction: Boston 117, New Orleans 97
NBA Free Pick ATS: Boston Celtics -3½
NBA Free Pick O/U: Under 230½ Total Points Scored
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