Boston Celtics vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Pick
Boston Celtics (12-10, 9-13 ATS) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (11-11, 12-10 ATS)
When: December 1st, 2018 – 8:00 pm ET
Where: Target Center – Minneapolis, MN
By: Kyle Cash, NBA Basketball Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BOS +2/MIN -2 (GTbets Sportsbook)
Last Night in the NBA
Happy Holiday season, everybody! It’s hard to believe that it’s already December and ¼ of the NBA regular season has already passed us by. To count us down to Christmas, I thought it would be fun to run our own little advent calendar here in the daily NBA column by celebrating something in the NBA related to the number of days we have left until the big day (we’re starting at 25):
On December 8th, 2010, JaVale McGee attempted a breakaway dunk from the free-throw line while his team was down by 25 points with 20 seconds left. The results were – as you can probably guess – disastrous, and a star was born.
No promises they will all be as good (or as bad) as that. Let’s move on. C.J. McCollum and Jamal Murray did their best bring us our victory, but we fell just short. Time to pick ourselves up and head over to Minneapolis. The Timberwolves are hosting the rejuvenated Boston Celtics and giving them 2 points as an early gift. The total is currently set to 213 points, and the odds of one of the Marcus’s calling Karl-Anthony Towns a derogatory name are at a whopping -500. Too rich for my blood.
Boston’s Tea Party
I’m not sure about their current political beliefs, but I like to imagine that Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart would’ve gladly dumped some tea into a river in their free time if only to piss off their enemies. They’re bordering on becoming the Beavis and Butthead of the NBA; they’re too ridiculous to get mad at for acting like jackasses. More importantly, their inclusion into the starting lineup has been the jolt of energy that Boston has needed to kick-start their season, and we might be seeing more buffoonery from these two than we had anticipated coming into the season.
College Basketball Selection: Purdue vs Michigan
Against Minnesota, the Celtics are going to need to continue the offensive output that they’ve been able to muster over their last couple of games. Kyrie Irving’s cobwebs have officially shaken loose, and he’s the sole benefactor to Boston’s offensive efficiency. Despite their recent success, the Celtics still sit in 26th in Offensive Rating, and the Timberwolves’ new added depth has finally salvaged what little was left of Tom Thibodeau’s defensive genius. Instead, look for Boston’s sound defense (2nd in the NBA in Defensive Rating) to stifle the Timberwolves and their subpar playmakers. This one might get ugly.
Purified in the Waters of Lake Minne-Butler
Despite Michael Scott’s skepticism, addition by subtraction is apparently a very real phenomenon. But to his point, addition by addition has helped out the Timberwolves tremendously as well as ex-Processee’s Robert Covington and Dario Saric have taken the bull by the horns and righted the sinking Wolves’ ship. With Jimmy Butler thriving in Philadelphia, it seems like we might have had an actual win-win trade scenario. At the very least, now Andrew Wiggins can suck at basketball in peace without anyone nagging him about defense, shot-making, passing, aggressiveness, playmaking, leadership or self-awareness. So there’s that.
The Boston Celtics have been playing better basketball over their past couple of games, and this will be the first real test that the Timberwolves will face in their post-Butler season. Go ahead and ask Sixers fans what they think about Covington versus Boston. Spoiler alert: it ain’t pretty. Instead, look for Minnesota to run through their workhorse Karl-Anthony Towns. He has his warts, but his talent is undeniable, and I like his chances of feasting on a Boston frontcourt that features a hobble Al Horford, the Man-Bun Aron Baynes and Fatter Draymond Guerschon Yabusele. Similar to Boston, this game will be won on the defensive end for the Wolves, and they need to rely on their depth to keep Boston’s top-end talent at bay.
Four Factors of Winning
Since we’re all about finding the edge here at Predictem.com, let’s take the time each day to dive into the stats that lead to winning basketball games. According to a theory posited by Dean Oliver, a win in basketball can be narrowed down to four factors: shooting, turnovers, rebounding and free throws. Each day, I will take a look at the areas that each team excels at or is susceptible to, and we will see if we can find a specific reason why Team A will beat Team B.
Yikes. I love watching all forms of basketball, but this game is shaping up to be the Jaguars-Bills of the NBA season. Neither team can make shots or get to the free throw line. They both play at or below league-average pace, take care of the basketball and defend without fouling. If you’re looking for entertainment, allow me to point you in the direction of Duke basketball.
If we’re looking for an edge, it’s glaring: Minnesota is the worst rebounding team in the league. Second chances opportunities lead to increased scoring, and for a team on the road, it’s best to limit their shots to one per possession. I expect Thibs to roll with Towns, Taj and Dario to try to fend Boston off of the offensive glass and turn this into a slow, sloppy slugfest. Sign me up!
My first reaction to seeing the total set to 213 was euphoria. I thought I could’ve turned in a 7-word article: “Celtics offense bad. Celtics defense good. Under.” But as a dedicated journalist (using that word VERY liberally), I did my due diligence. Here are the total points scored in the Celtics previous six games: 229, 226, 210, 217, 231, 223. With Gordon Hayward’s carcass jettisoned to the bench unit, the Celtics have shown flashes of their potential offensive ceiling. However, Minnesota treated their anemic condition under Jimmy Butler’s dictatorship with the blood transfusion of RoCo-positive, and the Wolves have yet to allow more than 103 points to an opponent since he joined the team. If I had to choose, I would lean towards Minnesota; the Celtics are traveling and in the second night of a back-to-back, and the T’Wolves are red-hot. Feel free to gamble if you like, but my money will be placed safely on the under. Bet it, forget it, and then go watch Northwestern take out He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named and his Ohio State Buckeye football team. Go Wildcats.
Final Score Prediction: Minnesota 104 – Boston Celtics 95