When you lose Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, you’re bound to take a step back. However, I’m not sure many pegged the new-look Brooklyn Nets to be losers of six of seven games since Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson arrived in the big Durant swap. A team once built on stars traded them in so they could add all-around talents in Bridges, Cam Johnson, Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith. So far, it’s just not working. It doesn’t help when you’ve spent that time facing some of the East’s best teams — Knicks twice, Sixers, and Bucks, but you should be able to take at least one of your road games against the Bulls and Hawks in that span.
Tonight, it doesn’t get any easier for the Nets as they face the Boston Celtics. They are 5-2 in their past seven games, and 8-2 in their past 10. They are coming off a 117-113 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers where they able to withstand a late comeback and a combined 83 points from Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland.
In the nightcap, the second-ranked Memphis Grizzlies face the top-ranked Denver Nuggets for Western Conference supremacy. You’d have to like the place the Nuggets find them in, not only because they have the better record but because things seem to be trending in the right direction as the season start to come to a close. It helps when you’re being led by potential three-time MVP Nikola Jokic.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Odds: Nets +11
Brooklyn Nets (34-28)
Spencer Dinwiddie, Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Nic Claxton
Boston Celtics (45-18)
Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Robert Williams
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Denver Nuggets
When: 10 p.m. ET
Where: Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado
Odds: Grizzlies +5
Memphis Grizzlies (38-23)
Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., Xavier Tillman
Denver Nuggets (44-19)
Jamal Murray, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Michael Porter, Aaron Gordon, Nikola Jokic
Sometimes Ja Morant can deliver his best performances when given a stage under the national lights, and that is why a Morant triple-double sitting at +750 on DraftKings current odds is looking pretty tempting. If you want to get a bit more conservative, but also know that the pace of place in the Grizz-Nuggets matchup is going to be a blur, you can grab a Jamal Murray 20-5-5 night for +320 or a Ja Morant 30-5-5 night for +360.