Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns are in Boston Thursday to take on the Celtics. (Photo by Hector Acevedo/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire)
- Suns continue East coast trek into Boston against short-handed Celtics
- Jaylen Brown, Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker are all likely out of the lineup
- Get the latest Suns vs Celtics odds, betting preview and a pick below
So much for seeing how the Phoenix Suns stack up against the best of the East.
After just sneaking by a depleted Philadelphia 76ers side Wednesday, the Suns are back at it Thursday in Boston, taking on a Celtics’ side that has a laundry list of walking wounded.
It’s no surprise the Suns — who sit second in the West at 42-16 — are 7.5-point road favorites in this one.
Suns vs Celtics Odds
|Team||Spread at FanDuel||Moneyline||Total|
|Phoenix Suns||-7.5 (-110)||-330||TBD|
|Boston Celtics||+7.5 (-110)||+265||TBD|
Odds as of April 21. Tip-off is Thursday at 7pm ET
Suns Stay Hot
The Suns are in a groove. Their win in Philadelphia Wednesday was their sixth in the last seven. They haven’t done much losing lately: the Suns are 13-2 in their last 15 and since the start of March, they’re a scorching 20-5 in their last 25 starts.
Joel Embiid was THIS CLOSE to sending it to OT in incredible fashion. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/gw6eFGiml8
— NBA (@NBA) April 22, 2021
After getting by the Bucks in OT to start their East coast trip, their win in Philly was tempered by the fact the Sixers were missing starters Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris and Seth Curry. It was an exciting one though, with a Joel Embiid miracle bomb rattling out as the Suns won 116-113.
D-Book came up clutch 💪
The Suns took down the No. 1 team in the East. pic.twitter.com/0R23VZlI4a
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 22, 2021
Chris Paul led the way with 28 points and eight dimes, while also connecting on 5-of-8 from downtown. Devin Booker chipped in with 19 points and seven assists, while Mikal Bridges finished with 18 points and four rebounds.
After the depleted Celtics on Thursday, the Suns visit another run-down roster in Brooklyn, which probably won’t have Kevin Durant and James Harden available.
CP3 (28 PTS, 8 AST) was a bucket in the Suns win tonight 😤 pic.twitter.com/oqv4K7t6IP
— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 22, 2021
Despite missing some marquee showcases on this trip, the Suns are a definite contender. They’ve got a hefty 20-7 mark against teams with winning records, and they rank in the top 10 in scoring, field goal shooting and 3-point shooting, and in the top 10 in scoring defense, opponent field goal and three-point percentage as well.
C’s a Mash Unit
Boston has been on an impressive 8-2 tear in their last 10, including a 6-game win streak that was snapped in a loss to the Bulls last time out. This recent surge has moved Boston above the play-in fracas, where they currently sit sixth in the East, a game clear of the 7th-place Heat.
But if they can’t get healthy, who knows how long they’ll be able to stay there.
We’re dealing with our fair share of stays on the injury list, but our team is still looking to build its continuity as a group. pic.twitter.com/e6Yibl0qNn
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 21, 2021
On Wednesday, head coach Brad Stevens spent much of his presser going through the extensive Boston injury report. Center Robert Williams is already out with a knee injury, as is Evan Fournier, who is still dealing with COVD health protocols. Kemba Walker has a non-COVID illness, and is questionable.
Jayson Tatum dropped 44 (16/25 FG) & 10 in the win over the Warriors 🔥
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) April 18, 2021
All-star Jaylen Brown is also doubtful against the Suns, as he is dealing with left shoulder bursitis, while fellow all-star Jayson Tatum is battling an ankle injury, and, while listed as questionable, should be a go.
Marcus Smart, who missed Monday’s loss to the Bulls with a non-COVID illness, will be back in the lineup.
Losing Brown would be a big blow to a roster that’s not that deep. He led the team in scoring Monday with 23 points against the Bulls, the 23rd time this year he’s led the C’s in scoring. In fact, in Boston’s 58 games, either Tatum or Brown have led the team in scoring in 53 games.
What’s the Best Bet?
Elite teams are elite no matter what the circumstance, and that’s no difference with the Suns. They’re 10-3 in the second half of back-to-backs, and enjoy a +9.4 point differential in those games. They carry a 33-13 record as the betting favorite, and an impressive 16-9 mark ATS on the road.
Tatum is averaging 27.8 points per game in April, while shooting it at 42% from deep, and he has the ability to carry his squad, but too few able bodies against a West powerhouse is too much for one too handle.
The pick: Suns -7.5 (-110)
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Having worked in and around sports since 1997, Eric is truly a knowledgeable expert. The two-time journalism grad specializes in all things NBA and NFL. From TSN.ca to CTV’s Olympic Broadcast Consortium, Eric’s work has appeared in local and national publications alike.