Tonight’s ESPN NBA doubleheader features a matchup between the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics at 4:30 p.m. (PST) and a clash between the Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns at 7:00 p.m. (PST). Several players will miss these contests, so be sure to see who is playing before placing your bets! Let’s have a look at who we think will come out on top and why, starting, as always, with the early game.
BKN Spread: +8.5 (-110) Moneyline: +285
BOS Spread: -8.5 (-110) Moneyline: -345
Things to consider…
1) Nets forward Kevin Durant (MCL sprain) began on-court activities last week but is still recovering and unavailable for tonight’s game. Joe Harris is likely to continue slotting in at small forward in his absence, which means Celtics forward Jayson Tatum may have an easier time scoring the ball. Particularly because…
2) Nets forwards Ben Simmons (knee soreness) and T.J. Warren (shin contusion) will also miss this contest. This will mark Simmons’ third consecutive game on the sidelines and Warren’s third as well. This will force a heavier workload for the starters and probably additional minutes for Yuta Watanabe.
3) Celtics point guard Marcus Smart (ankle sprain) remains sidelined and is unsure if he will return to action before the NBA All-Star break. Teammate Robert Williams (ankle sprain) is questionable to play. In which case, Boston could be without two of its best defenders.
Main takeaways: This should be a handy win for the Celtics, who have had three days off and are playing at home. With Durant out of commission for the time being, the onus is on Nets guard Kyrie Irving to keep this game competitive.
And now, the late game.
ATL Spread: +1.5 (-115) Moneyline: +100
PHO Spread: -1.5 (-105) Moneyline: -120
Things to consider…
1) Suns guard Devin Booker (strained groin) continues to progress in his recovery and is soon to be reevaluated, however, he is not available for tonight’s contest. Neither are guards Cameron Payne (foot soreness) or Landry Shamet (foot soreness). This means there are more minutes available for Damion Lee and Josh Okogie.
2) With the exception of Trae Young (ankle soreness), who is probable to play, the Atlanta Hawks are completely healthy entering this matchup.
3) Although riddled with injuries, the Suns are playing at home, where they boast a 19-8 record. They have also won six of their last seven games despite missed action from center Deandre Ayton. It would appear they are building momentum in the second half of the season and could continue to do so tonight.
Main takeaways: The Hawks are the healthier squad but the Suns appear to have righted the ship and overcome some of their early-season struggles. Although it is anyone’s game, the Suns are my favorite to win this contest. This is Game 2 of a five-game road trip for Atlanta, and they did not impress against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday.
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