The Brooklyn Nets' odds to win their first NBA title have only improved at William Hill Sportsbook since the 2021 playoffs tipped off as the Nets are now +190 moneyline favorites. They dominated the Celtics in the first two games in Brooklyn, with the Eastern Conference series shifting to Boston on Friday night for Game 3. The Celtics will have All-Star leading scorer Jayson Tatum despite a Game 2 eye injury, but the Nets won't have glue guy Jeff Green. Oddsmakers list Brooklyn at -7.5 on the NBA odds and are giving Kevin Durant an Over/Under of 27.5 points.
Boston is clearly overmatched in this series without injured All-Star Jaylen Brown. The Celtics were going to lose Game 2 regardless, but it might have been respectable if Tatum hadn't left with 8 minutes, 48 seconds to go in the third quarter when he was accidentally poked in the eye by Durant. Tatum was clearly hurt and went to the locker room, and while he eventually returned to the bench would not return to the game.
Tatum struggled in Game 1 when healthy in shooting 6-for-20 for 22 points, and he finished with just nine points on 3-for-12 shooting and a minus-28 rating in 21 minutes of the 130-108 blowout in Game 2. Tatum was a full participant in practice Thursday. William Hill gives Tatum a game-high Over/Under of 30.5 points (both -115). That seems quite high since the Nets are focusing on stopping him.
As for Green, he will miss at least 10 days as he strained his plantar fascia early in Game 2. Will perhaps not having Green cause the Nets to, say, lose in the next round against the Milwaukee Bucks? No, but he's a valuable veteran who averaged 11.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game this season and can defend every position.
"He has been so valuable to us this year with all the injuries we've had. He's been able to play multiple positions, different roles and fill in all the gaps for us," Coach Steve Nash said.
The Nets' optimal rotation didn't play together a single time in the regular season due to so many injuries and now has made it only two games in the playoffs. Second-year big Nic Claxton will inherit much of Green's playing time.
Durant leads the Nets in averaging 29.0 points in this series and as noted is given an Over/Under of 27.5 for Game 3, with the Over a slight -125 favorite. One can understand why Durant's total is lower than Tatum's because the Nets have two other big scorers in Kyrie Irving (O/U 23.5 points Friday) and James Harden (O/U 23.5 points) and if the game is out of hand Durant won't play heavy minutes. The former MVP and scoring champion is averaging 34.5 minutes in the series.
Brooklyn is on a seven-game ATS winning streak overall. Boston is 0-4 ATS in its past four at home.
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