NBA Best Bets for Monday, June 17th

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NBA Best Bets

Dallas Mavericks at Boston Celtics (-7, 209.5)


Boston looked every part of a team sitting on a 3-0 lead on Friday. Now, the Celtics must shake off the third-biggest loss in NBA Finals history and capitalize on the chance to clinch the title at home.

While Boston did look like a team that willingly let go of the rope in Game 3 we should not ignore Dallas’ tactics on Friday night.

The Mavericks were leading 10-9 in the first quarter when Xavier Tillman entered the game for the first time in place of Al Horford. Luka Doncic immediately exacted revenge on the Celtics’ reserve big man and took him to the hoop. Three minutes later Dallas led 25-14 with 3:13 left in the first quarter. Tillman ended up playing just seven minutes, but Boston was -13 in that time.

Head coach Joe Mazzulla has to figure out what to do at center when Horford is not on the floor if Kristaps Porzingis – who was available but did not play – cannot play tonight. At the end of the first quarter Mazzulla tried a small lineup with Jayson Tatum at center. That group was outscored by five points.

The injury to Porzingis looms large for the Celtics, but they are back at home in a potential close-out contest. They also have yet to put together an average shooting performance in this series.

Boston comes into Game 5 shooting just 33.9% from beyond the arc. On catch-and-shoot attempts the Celtics are hitting 35.1% of their 3-point shots. But their process has been extremely sound. 

Boston has generated 8.5 more uncontested 3-point attempts per game than Dallas. The Celtics’ relentless driving to the basket has led to 13.3 more catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts per game. Odds are that Boston’s shooting regresses to the mean at some point, and a charged game at home could be the spot it happens.

The Celtics are still a perfectly sound defensive team as well. Much is being made of Dallas being up in the series in total points despite trailing 3-1, but the reality is that the Mavericks averaged 1.088 points per possession or fewer in the first three games of the series. 

It’s natural for a team to slip the way Boston did on Friday. No team has ever come back from down 3-0 in a best-of-seven series in basketball. Back at home with a crowd to will it toward a win I expect a better offensive performance from the Celtics. 

Best Bet: Celtics (-6.5)