Another Big Test

Boston bounced back after falling to one Eastern Conference power, but another big test looms for the Celtics.

The East-leading Celtics will try to end their recent struggles against the Orlando Magic when the teams meet in Boston on Sunday.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Boston -9.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 192.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 59% of bets for this game have been placed on Boston -9.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

The Celtics (21-3) lost at home for the first time Wednesday, 87-85 to Detroit, which owns the second-best record in the East. Boston rebounded nicely Friday, pounding Chicago 107-82 to improve to 13-1 at TD Banknorth Garden.

"What you saw tonight was what we call 'stopping the bleeding,'" said forward Kevin Garnett, who had 12 points and seven rebounds.

"When we lose, we want it to be very, very, very, very few, and we want to learn from what mistakes we made in the loss and apply it in the next game. I thought we did a good job of that."

Paul Pierce had 22 points and seven rebounds and Ray Allen added 18 points.

"The loss to Detroit left a bad taste in our mouths," Pierce said. "It didn't matter who we played tonight, we were going to come out and take it to them. It didn't matter who was in the building."

On Sunday, though, Boston gets another tough matchup in the Magic (18-10), owners of the third-best record in the conference and winners of seven of their last nine against the Celtics. The Magic beat Boston 104-102 in Orlando on Nov. 18 in the teams' first meeting this season, handing the Celtics their first loss after an 8-0 start.

"I thought we matched up pretty good with them, but the main thing is we played good defense against them," Orlando's Rashard Lewis said after that game.

The Magic, however, have dropped six of their last eight games, including Friday's 113-94 loss to Utah, after opening the season 16-4. Coach Stan Van Gundy wasn't shy about criticizing his team, which was booed by its home fans following the most recent defeat.

"We're absolutely frightened of contact - frightened," he said. "We won't put our body in front of anybody driving the ball to the basket. We don't screen anybody, we won't block anybody out. It's a soft team, and until they change the results won't change."

Hedo Turkoglu scored a season-high 27 points against the Jazz, and Dwight Howard had 20 points and 13 rebounds. Howard, who had 24 points and six boards in the win over Boston, has scored in double figures in all but one of his 28 games and posted a double-double in all but four.

Orlando dropped its fourth straight at home but has won four of six on the road, where it is 13-4 this season.

"I think whenever we're on the road, we pull together a lot more," center Adonal Foyle said. "I think we know that there's not going to be anybody pulling for us. So you have to come together and work hard."

Guard Carlos Arroyo returned Friday after missing five games with a left foot injury, but didn't play until the fourth quarter.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

More NBA Basketball Coverage from theSpread.com

 - NBA Basketball teams
 - NBA Basketball standings
 - NBA Basketball schedule
 - NBA Basketball scoreboard
 - NBA Basketball injuries
 - NBA Basketball matchups
 - NBA Basketball stats
 - NBA Basketball odds
 - NBA Basketball public betting chart
 - NBA Basketball news wire
 - NBA Basketball top stories
 - NBA Basketball trends
 - AccuScore NBA Basketball predictions
 - Expert NBA Basketball picks
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for theSpread.com daily newsletter
 - NBA Basketball Home

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Will Fox be a top-5 pick? With the 2017 NBA Drafttakes place later tonight. Where can we expect one of the top prospects, De’Aaron Fox, to land tonight?
Thumbnail Fultz to go to the 76ers? The Boston Celticshave traded out of the No. 1 pick. The Philadelphia 76ersnow hold the top pick once again. Is it a slam dunk who they will take in the NBA...
Thumbnail 2018 NBA Finals Odds After dominating the 2017 NBA Playoffs, will anyone keep the Golden State Warriors from winning the NBA Finals again...
Thumbnail Stephen Curry Game 5 Props Will Stephen Curry bounce back from a poor showing in Game 4 when the Golden State Warriors host the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals tonight at 9PM...
Thumbnail Will James get another triple-double? Will LeBron James add to his NBA Finals record of nine triple-doubles when the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the NBA Finals...

NBA Headlines

  • CLEVELAND (AP) Two people familiar with the negotiations say the Cleveland Cavaliers have not yet offered Chauncey Billups a role in their front office.
    Owner Dan Gilbert met on consecutive d...
  • NEW YORK (AP) Markelle Fultz is still expected to be the No. 1 pick, though the destination has changed.
    Lonzo Ball wants to stay home with the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 2, and it seems surer...
  • WASHINGTON (AP) The Washington Wizards have acquired point guard Tim Frazier from the New Orleans Pelicans for a second-round pick in the NBA draft.
    Wednesday's deal gives the Pelicans the No...
  • LOS ANGELES (AP) Nick Young will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after declining his $5.66 million contract option for next season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
    The Lakers announced ...
  • MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Timberwolves enter the NBA draft with the No. 7 overall pick in the first round, and not sure if the player they want will be available. And that player might not ne...

NBA Team Pages