The Boston Celtics took advantage of a visiting Phoenix Suns team playing the second of a back-to-back on Thursday; can the Brooklyn Nets do the same against the visiting Celtics on Friday? The NBA odds at William Hill Sportsbook are a bit in flux because the Nets might see the return of Kevin Durant, while Boston will be without Jaylen Brown again due to injury, and point guard Kemba Walker will sit for rest. Currently, Brooklyn is -5.
That Durant has been upgraded to questionable obviously is a positive sign. KD hasn't played since suffering a thigh contusion early in last Sunday's game in Miami. Durant had played just five games since missing a few months with a hamstring injury before the injury against the Heat. It could be the Nets choose to hold him out until Sunday vs. Phoenix, however.
Durant has been spectacular in his 24 games, averaging 27.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists. Brooklyn remains without James Harden as well as reserves Chris Chiozza, Nicolas Claxton and Tyler Johnson. The Nets have alternated wins and losses over their past six and are in a dead-heat with Philadelphia for the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers would win the tiebreaker.
Boston upset the Suns on Thursday, 99-86, despite playing without Brown, Robert Williams and Evan Fournier. Walker tied a season high with 32 points while adding four assists and four rebounds. However, he has not played both ends of a back-to-back all season and won't here.
Williams and Fournier weren't close to playing Thursday, but Brown at least was listed as doubtful. Alas, he already has been ruled out Friday -- although Fournier is not on the injured list and could return from protocols (may not be in game shape). Boston has not rested star Jayson Tatum in any back-to-backs this season. He was listed as questionable, though, ahead of Thursday with a minor ankle injury but played 34 points. Tatum was just 3-for-17 shooting for 15 points but added 11 rebounds and six assists.
Nets-Celtics could be a first-round Eastern Conference playoff matchup. Brooklyn leads the season series 2-0, winning both by double digits, and this wraps it up. The Nets haven't swept Boston in a season series since 1996-97.
Kyrie Irving is averaging 38.5 points vs. his former Celtics team this season. Durant had 29 points in the one game he played. Tatum is averaging 25.5 points in the series and Brown 20.0. Boston is 0-5 against the spread in its past five in Brooklyn.
Who wins the 2021 Kentucky Derby? And which massive long shot is a must-back? Join SportsLine right now to get Jody Demling's Kentucky Derby winner, see which huge long shot contends, and get the finish positions for every single horse, all from the expert who's nailed nine Derby-Oaks doubles!