The Boston Celtics were as high as 4.5-point favorites on the William Hill Sportsbook NBA odds for Monday's home game vs. the New Orleans Pelicans, but that spread is down to -2.5 because the Celtics will be without All-Star forward Jaylen Brown due to a left hip contusion. Monday should be the debut, however, of trade acquisition Evan Fournier. New Orleans is listing Lonzo Ball and Jaxson Hayes as questionable.
The 24-year-old Brown is having his best season, averaging 24.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.7 points, so one can understand why the spread shifted down a bit. The team seems to give him a game off once every other week or so these days simply out of caution.
When Boston lost 120-115 in overtime in New Orleans on Feb. 21, Brown had a huge game with 25 points, nine assists and six rebounds. The Pelicans shockingly rallied from a 24-point deficit in the third quarter for their largest comeback win in franchise history. Brandon Ingram had 33 points for the Pels, including the go-ahead three-pointer with 33.3 seconds left in overtime. Zion Williamson scored 24 of his 28 points after halftime and had 10 rebounds.
In addition to Brown, Semi Ojeleye and Tristan Thompson also are out for Boston on Monday. Thompson hasn't played in a while due to COVID protocols. Fournier was acquired from Orlando at last Thursday's trade deadline and has officially cleared the NBA's health and safety protocols, so he should be out there. He was averaging 19.7 points with Orlando.
Ball (14.4 ppg, 5.6 apg) is listed as questionable with a hip injury that has caused him to miss the past four, while Hayes (5.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg) is questionable with a right wrist injury that forced him to miss Saturday's 112-103 win over Dallas. Zion had 38 points in that one and either scored or assisted on the final 14 points by New Orleans.
Williamson recorded his 23rd consecutive game of at least 20 points, a streak that is second-best in NBA history only to Shaquille O'Neal. Zion surpassed LeBron James with his 11th career game of scoring 30 points on 60% shooting or better, the most in NBA history for any player younger than 21.
Who wins and covers every NCAA Tournament game? And which teams should be on upset alert? Join SportsLine now to see which team to back in every matchup, all from the model that's up $2,600 for $100 players.