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Defense Keying Celtics’ Recent Success

Boston Celtics vs Portland Trail Blazers Preview

Boston allowed just eight fourth-quarter points Sunday to rally for a huge win in Denver, improving to 5-1 SU in its last six. The Celtics (28-26 SU, 26-28 ATS) hope to carry that momentum into a visit to Portland, where the Trail Blazers (31-22, 26-27) have dropped three of their last four.

Boston Celtics vs Portland Trail Blazers
  • Date/Time: April 13, 10 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Moda Center
  • TV Coverage: TNT
  • Opening Odds: Trail Blazers -2 | O/U 227.5 (Line History)
  • Celtics vs Trail Blazers Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Despite Boston’s 11-16 SU record on the road this year, oddsmakers opened the Celtics as just 2-point underdogs in Portland. That line had been bet down to Portland -1 as of Tuesday morning.

Boston News & Notes

If going UNDER the total in eight of their last nine games wasn’t enough to convince you that the Celtics are dialing up the defense lately, Sunday’s comeback win in Denver certainly should.

Boston smothered the Nuggets in the final 14 minutes of its 105-87 victory, closing the game on a 40-8 run to rally from a 14-point deficit in the third quarter. During one stretch, the Celtics forced Denver to miss 10 straight shots and commit five turnovers.

Although Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined to score 48 points, Boston’s defensive intensity overshadowed some shooting struggles from the rest of its top scorers. Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker missed 16 of their 26 field-goal attempts, and the Celtics couldn’t buy a bucket from behind the three-point arc, shooting 7-for-33 from distance.

Shooting guard Evan Fournier, the player Boston picked up at the trade deadline to bolster its scoring depth, will remain out for the remainder of Boston’s road trip due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Romeo Langford is picking up some extra minutes in Fournier’s absence, scoring five points and adding five rebounds in 16 minutes against Denver.

Portland News & Notes

Jusuf Nurkic’s recent return from a fractured wrist hasn’t had the immediate impact Trail Blazers fans were hoping for. Portland is 1-3 SU in the last four games Nurkic has played, with those three losses coming by a combined 46 points. On Sunday at home, the Trail Blazers’ high-scoring attack was held under the century mark for the first time in nearly a month in a 107-98 setback to the Heat.

Not that Nurkic is the problem. The center, who has yet to play more than 22 minutes in a game since mid-January, has shot 50 percent or better in six of his seven outings since returning to action.

However, Damian Lillard scored just 12 points on 3-of-10 shooting Sunday, when the Trail Blazers gave the ball away 17 times and were outscored 28-7 off turnovers. Portland has now gone UNDER the total in six straight games at home and in six of its last seven overall.

Betting Pick: UNDER 227.5

Boston is playing defensive-minded basketball right now and the Blazers aren’t scoring the way they were earlier this year, especially at home.

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Shark Bites
  • The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Boston’s last 9 games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in Portland’s last 6 games at home.
  • Boston is 14-5 ATS in its last 19 games in Portland.