Outstanding Road Trip

The majority of the Boston Celtics' current roster wasn't even born the last time the team swept a road trip of at least five games.

But after a stunning run through Texas, the Celtics can head home with an unbeaten mark on their five-game road trip Saturday when they face the New Orleans Hornets - the only NBA team they've yet to face this season.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Boston +1.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 187 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 85% of bets for this game have been placed on Boston +1.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

When Boston's current road trip - arguably its toughest of the season - started with a 99-77 win in Milwaukee last Saturday, it didn't seem realistic to think the Celtics could finish the trip undefeated.

Their other difficult Western Conference swing started with three straight losses to Denver, Golden State and Phoenix last month, but this week, the Celtics (55-13) became the first team to win three straight road games in Texas on a single road trip since Sacramento did it in November 2001.

As it has most of the season, stifling defense keyed their current run. Boston has allowed an average of just 83 points on the road trip, ending San Antonio's seven-game home winning streak and Houston's 22-game overall winning streak. The Celtics have won 14 of their last 15 overall and eight straight on the road.

They swept a four-game road trip from Dec. 26-30, but a win over the Hornets (46-21) would give them their first perfect trip of five games or longer since February of 1973.

"This feels good," Boston's Ray Allen said. "It's something for the rest of the NBA to watch."

Allen missed the first three games of the trip with an ankle injury, but returned to score 21 points in Thursday's 94-90 win over Dallas, including the go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minute.

"It's good to see Ray back and healthy," Celtics forward James Posey said. "That's what he does, make big shots. He's a big part of this team."

Paul Pierce added 22 points and a season-high 13 rebounds against the Mavericks, while Kevin Garnett had 20 points and 13 points as the Celtics won despite shooting just 34.5 percent from the field.

They'll be facing a Hornets team that held its last opponent to 34.1 percent shooting. After Boston beat Houston 94-74 on Tuesday, the Rockets lost 90-69 at New Orleans on Wednesday.

Chris Paul had 21 points and 10 assists for his eighth consecutive double-double while David West added 23 points and 11 rebounds in his return from an ankle injury. Bonzi Wells led all scorers with 25 points off the bench in the Hornets' second straight victory and eighth straight at home.

New Orleans - locked in a tight race with numerous teams for the top seed in the Western Conference - trailed the Rockets 55-50 during the third quarter, but outscored them 40-14 the rest of the way.

"We just knew it was a matter of time," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "The thing I am proud of is that the guys just kept focus on the defensive end. We got more aggressive. We got tougher. We started to get loose balls, deflections, steals, everything ... and I think it kind of ignited us on the other end."

Paul shot 9-of-13 from the field, making him 24-of-34 (70.6 percent) in the last two games and 100-of-167 (59.9 percent) in the month of March. He's also averaging 13.2 assists this month.

The Hornets swept the season series in 2006-07 after the Celtics had won the four previous games in the series. Along with the Phoenix Suns, they're one of just two teams the Celtics haven't beaten this season.

The teams face off again in Boston next Friday.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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