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Boston Celtics (48-22) vs. Utah Jazz (33-36)
The 2022-23 NBA season continues on Saturday, March 18, 2023, when the Boston Celtics take on the Utah Jazz in this interconference battle at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. No line or total was set for this contest at the time this preview was written.
These teams have not faced each other this season. Utah has defeated Boston the last two times these teams have met in Salt Lake City.
Celtics Edge Timberwolves in MinnesotaThe Boston Celtics (48-22, 36-33-1 ATS) edged the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, 104-102. That was the third contest of a six-game road trip that will see the team take on Portland on Friday before facing Utah on Saturday. This preview was written prior to the conclusion of the Trail Blazers game. The Celtics are 22-13 on the road.
“I thought our physicality, that competitive nature was at a 10 and we just have to continue to execute the margins in clutch situations,” Boston coach Joe Mazzulla said. “We won most of them tonight.”
We got back in the win column by making clutch plays down the stretch against the Timberwolves. pic.twitter.com/4xc6uKieKu— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 16, 2023
Boston took a six-point lead in the third quarter, then held on for the two-point victory. The Celtics only shot 40.5% from the floor, but hit 24 of 30 free throws, eight more than Minnesota. Jaylen Brown led the way with 35 points and 10 rebounds. Jayson Tatum also had a double-double with 22 points and 12 boards.
Boston is one of the best offensive teams in the NBA, averaging 117.5 points per contest, fourth overall, but are very good defensively as well, seventh in points allowed at 112.2. Opponents are hitting 46.5% from the floor (5th) and that has continued on the road, where Boston is allowing opponents 46.7% shooting and 112.5 points per game. Boston is averaging 114.4 points per game on the road.
Jazz Lose in MiamiThe Utah Jazz (33-36, 38-29-2 ATS) loss to the Miami Heat on Monday, 119-115. It is the fifth loss in the last seven games for Utah who are on the outside of the playoff picture, 0.5 games behind Oklahoma City for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Utah is 20-13 at home this season and will begin a four-game homestand starting with the contest against Boston on Saturday.
“He was good. He stayed aggressive," Lauri Markkanen said of Simone Fontecchio post-game. "We know how good of a shooter he is and just need to see a couple go down. Happy for him. He got the opportunity and we keep feeding him. He’s, like I said, a great shooter, so he gets it going and he’s a tough man to stop."
13 days. 6 games. 5 cities. It was quite the road trip 🎞️#TakeNote— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) March 14, 2023
Utah rallied to take a one-point lead heading into the half, and the score was tied after three quarters, but the Heat hit critical shots down the stretch to earn the victory. Miami won this game at the free-throw line, going 31-36 while Utah was 13-18. Markkanen recorded 38 points and eight rebounds to lead Utah.
Utah is a very good offensive team as well, sixth in the NBA in points per game (117.2), but they have struggled to make shots, hitting 47.3%. This team wins on the glass, sixth in rebounds per game at 45.3. Utah is struggling to shut down teams in recent games, allowing 120.6 points per game over their last five as opponents are hitting 46.3% of their shots.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Utah would seem to have a clear advantage here, as they have not played since Monday and Boston has to play on back-to-back nights. Plus, the Jazz have defeated the Celtics the last two times these teams have met in Utah, and they are a team in need of a victory if they are going to grab one of those final playoff spots in the West. Boston has been a .500 team in their last eight games on the road but Utah has not been very good at home of late, losing four of their last six home contests.
Do not be surprised if Boston is the favorite in this game, but do not take them if they are favored by more than five. This will likely be a close contest, especially after the Celtics had to play on Friday. If Utah is the favorite, take Boston outright.
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Full-Game Total Pick
These teams have not played yet this season, and last year’s results make it difficult to predict what the outcome of this game may be. The teams combined for 222 points in Boston on March 23 but scored 267 in Utah on December 3, 2021. The total was set at 215.5 or lower for both of those contests, so it depends on how oddsmakers believe these two teams can match up against each other offensively.
Boston has been held to 109 points or fewer in two of the first three games during this road trip and has averaged 114.4 points on the road this season. Utah is averaging 118.4 points per game at home this year and has scored at least 118 points in three of their last four games at home. Go with the over unless the total is set above 234.