Boston Celtics guard Dennis Schröde
Boston Celtics guard Dennis Schröder (71) trips while driving between Phoenix Suns guard Landry Shamet (14) and guard Chris Paul (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

SUNS VS CELTICS, DEC. 31

Kyle Barrette

We stay hot as last night’s over cashes easily and we move on to today’s New Year’s Eve Day play. The Suns are coming across the country to play an early game against the Celtics. Should the Celtics be worried that the only thing they have going for them in this matchup is a time advantage? Let’s break it down and find out.

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Suns
Yes, traveling across the country and playing in a game that is like 11 am is tough. I don’t get too caught up in the time constraints. You still have to remember this is an earlier game for Boston as well, and these guys travel and are used to time changes. I know it’s not this early, but talent usually wins out in the end here. The Suns will be without Ayton, Crowder, and McGee for this matchup, but Phoenix is one of the deepest teams in the league and can easily have some of their bench players fill those roles and still execute at a high level. The Suns won by 18 in their first game without Ayton and Crowder, a game where McGee had 16 points but also where Jaylen Smith, who’s taking over for McGee, played 25 minutes and had 11 points. While these players are all stars, the drop-off in production from them to the bench is not as severe as on other teams. Boston, on the other hand, is not so lucky. 

Boston
I’ll start with the good news that the Celtics are getting Smart back into the lineup for this game. The bad news? Tatum is still out. The Celtics have a decent bench, but it’s no match for this Suns team. Brown can only carry this team so far, and if he gets bothered by this top-ranked Suns defense, it’s basically a wrap because the only other guy who can take charge and get buckets is out there in Tatum. Look at their last game against the Clippers, for example. The Clippers came in and played solid defense, and the Celtics were only able to put up 82 points. Looking further, we can see what happens when a team is frustrated and only one guy can do the scoring. Brown had 30 points in that game, which was 36% of the team’s total points, Williams had 16, and every other player on the team was in single digits. The Suns’ defense is better than the Clippers’ defense. Will they hold Boston to 82 points? Most likely not but look for this to be the same style of play that plagued this Boston squad only against an even better team.

Celtics vs Suns the Pick: Suns -4.5
This Celtics team needs Tatum badly. It would take an extraordinary game from Smart to lift the Celtics past the Suns here. If there was a different team coming into town, you could start to look to take the points, but not against this offense and this defense with the shape of the Celtics roster. Take the Suns-4.5.

Same Game Parlay
Phoenix Suns -4.5, Robert Williams First Basket, Chris Paul Over 15.5 Points, Suns to win by 1-10 Pts and Robert Williams to record 10+ Rebounds.

SGP Odds +10170

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