Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#549 Phoenix Suns 226 vs.
#550 Boston Celtics -6
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 7:05pm EST
TD Garden, Boston
Written by Sporty Jordy

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#549 Phoenix
#550 Boston
17-24
27-13
21-19-1
23-16-1
22-19
18-21-1
113
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113
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This article covers a past game!

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When and where: January 18, 2020, TD Garden, Boston, MA, 7:00 PM ET

The slumping Boston Celtics desperately hope to avoid their sixth loss in eight games on Saturday when hosting the visiting Phoenix Suns. It could be nearing a time of reflection with the Celtics on the verge of losing their sixth game in eight outings. They are coming off back-to-back losses to the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons. Meanwhile, the Suns managed to get back on the winning track by ramrodding the New York Knicks in a 121-98 road victory.

Ayton steps up big when needed

Devin Booker has a knack for being the offensive superman for the Suns. However, the team desperately needed someone else to step up with Kelly Oubre Jr. sidelined with a head injury against the Knicks. Leave it to the big-man, Deandre Ayton, to drop 26 points and a career-high 21 rebounds to help lead the Suns to a 121-98 victory.

Ricky Rubio also turned in a 25-point performance with 13 assists to help complete the blowout. It’ll take another scintillating performance for the Suns to fend off the Celtics’ fourth-ranked defense. Perhaps they can find some hope in Boston allowing 116-plus points in each of their last two games. The Suns are averaging a 49.0 field goal shooting percentage in their last three games.

The trio of Booker, Ayton and Rubio can still cause problems for the Celtics. Oubre has already been ruled out for Saturday’s game, while rookie Cameron Johnson is questionable with a quad injury.

Phoenix’s 18th-ranked defense is the greatest concern when breaking down this matchup. Opposing teams are averaging 114.3 points per game against them on the road. You can rest assured the Celtics will take advantage if the Suns can’t consistently contest shots.

Celtics playing like imposters

Who are these Celtics?

I’m talking about the Celtics team that is allowing 115.0 points per game in their last three outings on defense. It’s the Celtics team that has allowed a pitiful 51.6 field goal shooting percentage to opponents. Who is this team that is in danger of losing three straight games after dropping five of their last seven?

Coach Brad Stevens will do his best to find out when the team takes the floor on Saturday against the Suns.

With Jaylen Brown listed as questionable with a thumb injury, the team could use a greater boost from the bench than they had in their 128-123 loss to the Bucks. The Suns have the 10th-ranked scoring offense in the league. Don’t sleep on their ability to get buckets against a Celtics team that is seeming going through the motions.

Star guard Kemba Walker is one of the few that doesn’t belong in that category. He dropped 40 points in an effort to top Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. And it still wasn’t enough. However, he should be salivating for an opportunity to pile on the scoreboard against the Suns’ shaky offense.

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The Celtics desperately need a win, and the Suns have been terrible on the road this season. That’s a slam-dunk case by itself.

Boston has only lost four games at the TD Garden so far this season, while the Suns have amassed an 8-10 road record. Even without Brown on the floor, the Suns are outgunned as far as offensive firepower is concerned.

Walker will be the best player on the court, and his efforts will be fortified by the contributions of Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward and Marcus Smart. Can Ayton and Rubio replicate the impressive performances they had when playing against the Knicks? That’s too great of a leap for me to take with the backdrop being the TD Garden.

Opposing teams are averaging a 47.2 field goal shooting percentage against the Suns this season. They aren’t built to shut down the green machine on the road, leaving their hopes solely up to winning an offensive shootout. Spoiler alert—they’ll come away greatly disappointed. Give me the Celtics on Saturday.

Prediction: Boston Celtics

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The Celtics have been more lenient than usual on defense. One can excuse them for giving up 128 points to the No. 1-ranked scoring offense in the Bucks, but it’s hard to excuse them for giving up 116 points to a moribund offensive team like the Pistons. Booker has a knack for putting up video game numbers, and he’ll be running into the sixth-ranked offensive team in the league.

Boston is averaging 114.5 points per game at home this season. The Suns haven’t been consistent on defense, and the Celtics have too many scorers to let them off the hook. I’m taking the over betting total here.

Prediction: Over
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.