The trade deadline passed and no, Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier aren’t Celtics again. With so many traded players rejoining their former teams yesterday, you’d think that a reunion might have been possible. Instead, the former C’s are in Boston as Charlotte Hornets for their fourth and final meeting of the year.
A month ago, the Celtics won back-to-back games in Buzz City in similar fashion and they will be in similar circumstances tonight. Jaylen Brown didn’t play in the mini-series and he won’t be available again tonight nursing a facial fracture. Enter the MVP candidate. Jayson Tatum put on a masterclass in the two blowouts that only few superstars can do, scoring a combined 84 points over two games including 51 in the second contest, but keep in mind that Tatum is listed as questionable with a non-COVID illness. The Celtics will also be without Marcus Smart for the ninth straight game, but will welcome back Robert Williams and Al Horford after both Boston big men missed Wednesday’s win over Joel Embiid and the 76ers.
In the night cap, the Cavaliers visit the Pelicans. Both teams are their conferences’ younger championship contenders and have shown stretches of strong play. Cleveland started the season hot, winning eight straight after their opener. New Orleans might even be streakier. Because of their myriad of injuries to their star players Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, the Pels own winning streaks of seven and five games, but before recently, lost ten in a row. The Cavaliers have won 4 and the Pelicans 3. Something’s gotta give tonight.
Despite their 15-41 record, the Hornets have unexpected wins against the Lakers, Bucks, Hawks, and Heat. Even though the Celtics are favored by 11.5 points, Boston best be on upset alert. In New Orleans, the Pelicans are two-point home dogs hosting the healthier Cavaliers.
Over the past few games, the story with the Celtics has been the play of their two backup point guards, Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon. With Smart and Brown unavailable, they’ve helped carry the team to a 4-1 record over their last five games with nearly identical stat lines.
White | 17.8 points | 44% three point shooting | 6.6 rebounds | 3.6 assists
Brogdon | 16.6 points | 52.4% three point shooting | 3.6 rebounds | 3.2 assists
Tonight, not only can you bet on the game at DraftKings, they’ve also got fun player props, too. Right now, you can grab Derrick White (+20 points, +5 rebounds, +5 assists) for +850 as a quick single game parlay.