Boston Celtics (23-3) at Seattle Supersonics (8-20), 10:30 pm Eastern Thursday, TNT
by Zman of Predictem.com
The best team in the league so far this season continues a trip through part of the Western Conference when the Boston Celtics visit the Seattle Supersonics in the nightcap of a TNT/NBA double-header Thursday night.
NBA Sportsbooks have Boston listed as nine-point road favorites for Thursday’s game, with a total of 193. Also, the Celtics are posted at anywhere from -450 to -550 on various Vegas moneylines, with Seattle getting up to +480 as home underdogs.
Boston has won three games in a row after stifling Sacramento Wednesday night 89-69. So heading into Thursday’s action, the Celtics lead the Atlantic Division by 9 games over the second-place Toronto Raptors.
In fact, Boston is only a handful of baskets away from being a perfect 26-0; their three losses this season have been by two points to the Detroit Pistons, by five in overtime to the Cleveland Cavaliers and by two points at Orlando.
Seattle started this season 2-14, but has gone 6-6 since then. In their most recent outing, the Sonics lost at Portland 89-79 Christmas night. So going into Thursday’s play, Seattle sits in fourth place in the Northwest Division, nine games back of the first-place Denver Nuggets.
These two teams split their two meetings last season, but those were two very different teams. Ray Allen, now a Celtic, was a Sonic; Kevin Garnett, now also in Boston, was a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves; and Kevin Durant, Seattle’s star rookie, was playing college ball at Texas.
This season, Boston is a very profitable 18-7 against the spread, and 9-2 straight up and 7-3-1 ATS on the road.
On the other side of this match-up, the Sonics are 13-15 vs. the numbers this season, and while just 4-9 SU at home, 7-6 against the spread at Key Arena.
Statistically speaking, the Celtics lead the league in per-game point differential at +14.1, scoring defense at 86 ppg, FG defense at 41% and rebounding at +4.2 per game. Boston is also shooting 48% from the field as a team, 39% from 3-point range and 77% from the free-throw line.
Meanwhile, Seattle ranks 28th in point differential at -7 per game and 20th in rebounding at -.7 per game, and is shooting 44% from the floor as a team, 36% from long range and 77% from the line.
The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com ranks the Celtics a clear #1 at 102.3, the Sonics 28th at 83.3.
The o/u is 9-16 in Boston games this season, which are averaging 186 points per, while the totals are 12-16 in Seattle games, which are averaging 203 points.
Zman’s Pick: Seattle +9.5.