Can Boston Be Stopped?

Two weeks into the season, the new-look Boston Celtics have left little doubt they plan to be a serious contender in the Eastern Conference.

Off to their best start in 20 seasons, the Celtics look to remain the NBA's only unbeaten team when they visit the struggling Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Boston -6.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 197.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 92% of bets for this game have been placed on Boston -6.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Boston (5-0) hasn't won six in a row to open a season since 1987-88. The team's new star-studded trio of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce is hoping to end that drought this season.

Boston, though, could be in for a bit of a challenge Tuesday as it looks to avoid a fourth straight loss to Indiana (3-3), which has dropped three in a row since winning its first three contests. The Pacers went 3-1 against Boston in 2006-07.

With coach Doc Rivers back on the bench hours after attending his father's funeral in the Chicago area, Boston won 112-101 at New Jersey on Saturday.

Pierce scored 28 points, Allen added 27 and Garnett had 18 points and 14 rebounds for his fifth straight double-double. While the Celtics shot 45.6 percent from the field and 52.6 percent (10-for-19) from 3-point range Saturday, the team got its biggest spark from having Rivers on the sideline.

"It was a great boost of confidence," said Pierce, who averages a team-leading 23.6 points per game. "It was a tough situation for him. He could have easily not come. It definitely brought my spirits up when I looked up and I saw him."

Those associated with the team have lauded Rivers for the way he's dealt with a difficult situation.

"Obviously, it is tough for him," Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau said. "I think the big thing for him is it's sort of an escape. I don't know how he has balanced it, but he has been phenomenal throughout."

Pierce, Allen and Garnett have also been phenomenal so far. They have combined to average 68.8 of the 107.6 points Boston is scoring a contest. They've also helped the Celtics post a league-leading 52.4 field-goal percentage and improve things on the defensive end where they are allowing 91.0 points per game - far better than the 99.2 given up last season.

Boston hopes for another solid overall effort at Indiana, where it has lost three in a row and five of its last six.

The Pacers, though, will try to bounce back after blowing a 25-point second-quarter lead in a 113-106 home loss to Denver on Saturday.

Despite 18 points and 10 rebounds from Troy Murphy and 15 points and 12 rebounds from Jermaine O'Neal, the Pacers were outscored 57-32 in the second half.

The Pacers have been outscored 62-32 in the fourth quarter of their last two games.

"In the second half, we made bad decisions and took bad shots," forward Danny Granger said. "We have to figure out a way to close out games."

Indiana averaged 109.0 points in winning its first three contests, but just 94.0 during its three-game skid.

O'Neal, who posted his first double-double of the season Saturday, averaged 17.5 points and 12.2 rebounds against Boston last season.

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 Headlines

  • LOS ANGELES (AP) Denver Nuggets coach Mike Malone and star Nikola Jokic have been ejected after Malone stepped onto the court during play to confront referee Rodney Mott about a no-call.
    Mott...
  • ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) The Orlando Magic has decided to end their annual summer league.
    Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said Sunday the trend of NBA teams playing in the Las...
  • PHILADELPHIA (AP) Philadelphia 76ers guard will miss another two to three weeks as he recovers from soreness in his right shoulder.
    The Sixers said Fultz's return to action will be determined...
  • TORONTO (AP) Washington Wizards guard John Wall will miss Sunday's game at Toronto because of a sore left knee, but coach Scott Brooks said he there's a ''great chance'' the four-time All-Star wil...
  • NEW YORK (AP) Kevin Durant is missing Golden State's game against Brooklyn on Sunday night because of a sprained left ankle.
    Durant scored 27 points Saturday night as the Warriors rallied for...

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Nuggets vs. Lakers Pick Are the Denver Nuggetsgoing to cover the spread as a road favorite tonight at 9:30PM ET when they play the host Los Angeles...
Thumbnail Bulls vs. Suns Pick Are the underdog Chicago Bulls going to send the host Phoenix Suns...
Thumbnail Pistons vs. Timberwolves Pick Are the Detroit Pistons going to cover the spread as an underdog tonight at 7PM ET when they play at the Minnesota...
Thumbnail Pacers vs. Heat Pick Are the Indiana Pacers going to stay within the number this evening at 5PM ET when they play at the Miami...

NBA Team Pages