Good morning, hoops heads! Let’s kickstart your Tuesday with the latest edition of the Morning Dunk!
Celtics Take Down Knicks
The storied Eastern Conference rivalry added another chapter as the New York Knicks traveled to TD Garden to take on the red-hot Celtics. Jalen Brunson and the Knicks had won 3 in a row while the Celtics sat at 7-2 and 2nd in the East.
Brunson and running mate Julius Randle were determined to prove the Knicks belong, dropping 51 combined points and continually hitting tough shots to keep their team in the game.
Ultimately, the strong play of Kristaps Porzingis and Jayson Tatum was too much for the Knicks to overcome. If he stays healthy, many teams will regret allowing Brad Stevens to add Porzingis for such a low cost. The Unicorn seems to enjoy playing his former team, as he’s averaged nearly 23 points per game against his old club. He’s put up 20-6 a game so far in Boston green while providing the Celtics with another reliable rim protector.
Betting on the Celtics at +370 in the NBA Championship odds after their hot start is an interesting play. However, the real value lies in Tatum winning NBA MVP. The Duke product is averaging 27 points, 9 rebounds, and nearly 4 assists per game on close to a 50-40-90 shooting split for the sizzling Celtics. At +750 Tatum is a terrific play as his squad continues to flex their muscles on the Association.
Giannis is Unstoppable
Over in Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo is a man on a mission. Milwaukee sat at just 5-4 entering Tuesday’s contest, as the Bucks have struggled since swapping Jrue Holiday for Dame Lillard. Camaraderie and chemistry are an underrated part of any NBA locker room, and the Bucks have struggled to maintain the strong defensive identity of years’ past.
Actually, the Bucks 117.8 defensive rating ranked 26th in the NBA heading into Tuesday’s game. Adrian Griffin’s squad also sits just 29th in total rebounds and 26th in defensive rebounding. Griffin will be desperate to establish some momentum with his star-studded squad.
In a show of sheer dominance, Giannis put up 19 points in the first half alone, leaving the Bulls scrambling for answers. He wound up finishing with 35 points and 11 rebounds to help end the Bucks two-game skid.
Oddsmakers are hardly bothered by the Bucks' early season struggles, as Milwaukee’s +420 NBA Championship odds remain unchanged. There will always be ebbs and flows as teams navigate the trials and tribulations of an 82-game NBA season. Having said that, the Greek Freak and Dame need to solve this puzzle before time runs out.