Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Where to watch: ESPN
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Celtics -4
FanDuel: Celtics -4.5
BetMGM: Celtics -4.5
Caesars: Celtics -4
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Mavs - Celtics preview, prediction and analysis
Mavs: lost 98-97 vs. Nuggets
Celtics: lost 121-107 at Bulls
I am trying exponentially hard to want to believe in the Dallas Mavericks. I am trying ridiculously hard to not want to just jump off the side of the boat with 60-something games to go it completely gives up on them. But when they lose a game in the fashion they did on Sunday to the Denver Nuggets, who don't have their two-time MVP and one of their better young players, it's really deflating. And now you are asking this ragtag team of misfits if you can even call it that, to go on the road and face possibly the best team in basketball in the Boston Celtics on Wednesday. Try telling me you have any confidence that they can do it.
Because look at it this way. This game is gonna be on national television. This is the game that you look to for an escape, for excitement. You're going to see Luka Doncic against Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. This is the kind of matchup that you make appointment viewing necessary and this is the game that you strive to want to brand your game in the biggest ways.
But I must say it is very hard to do that when The Mavericks are literally a team of Doncic and nobody else. That somebody else should be Christian wood but for some ungodly reason for reasons unbeknownst to any of us, head coach Jason Kidd is not playing him enough. At this point it shouldn't even matter about defense. It shouldn't even matter if he's given up maybe a couple of point-blank range shots a game. Javale McGee isn't doing any better and quite frankly you're not gonna find a better option at the five anytime soon.
So of course it baffles my mind when someone like Tim Hardaway junior is taking nine shots and making one of them, while this big man is taking only three shots in a limited amount of minutes because his minutes are always in flux. Jason Kidd is in no position right now to be analyzing what kind of lineup works and what lineup doesn't. You are coming off a Western Conference finals appearance last year, and you are basically running the same lineup that you had last year minus jalen Brunson. And yet somehow through all of this, knowing that you swung for the fences for what should be your second-best player, you decide to bring him off the bench as a super 6th man and then you don't play them at all.
For all the good that Kidd has done as coach, this season is showing that he is still way over his own head. And this was the biggest problem going into this year. Would he be able to understand how to coach this team, while still getting the most out of Doncic, and improving on last year to hopefully make the NBA Finals? So far that does not seem to be the case.
And I know a bulk of this should be dedicated to the Celtics because they were the hottest team in the league having won eight in a row before losing to the Chicago Bulls on Monday 121-107, and in due time they will get their flowers because they are that good and they probably have the leading candidate for MVP on their roster in Tatum. But it's very annoying for Dallas to even play this badly and there's no reason why they should have a 9-7 record. It should be so much better than this and if we know anything about Mark Cuban, he won't be making a coaching change anytime soon if this thing falls off the rails.
I can't in good conscience pick Dallas to win this game period Boston just has too much talent, they have too many good playmakers on the wing, and there's just no way Dallas has the firepower to match them at least this early in the season. Celtics by 12
Mavs are 300-249 ATS as an underdog between 3.5 and 9.5 since 1996.
Mavs are 154-118 on the road when playing their 2nd game in five days since 1996.
Mavs are 1-8 ATS after playing at home this season.
Celtics are 36-22 ATS after an under the last 2 seasons.
Projected starting lineup
PG: Luka Doncic
SG: Tim Hardaway Jr.
SF: Reggie Bullock
PF: Dorian Finney-Smith
C: Dwight Powell
PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Grant Williams
C: Al Horford
Mavs: Spencer Dinwiddie (shoulder, questionable)
Celtics: Robert Williams III (knee, out)
Points: Luka Doncic -- 33.5
Rebounds: Luka Doncic -- 9.1
Assists: Luka Doncic -- 8.1
Points: Jayson Tatum -- 30.2
Rebounds: Jayson Tatum -- 7.6
Assists: Marcus Smart -- 7.1
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