The Boston Celtics will be playing their fourth straight home game tonight as they play host to the Phoenix Suns. Boston will be looking to continue the momentum from their blowout win over the Nets, and we’ll preview the game before going over why I’m targeting the point total in this one.
On January 16th, the Phoenix Suns were three games below .500, but they have since won six of their last eight games and enter tonight one game above .500. For the most part, the Suns have been treading water while they wait for Devin Booker to return from injury, but recently they’ve looked a bit better on both ends of the floor.
Over the last ten games, the Suns' defensive efficiency rating ranks 8th in the league. However, Phoenix will enter tonight fresh off a loss in which they allowed 132 points to the Atlanta Hawks, a game in which they allowed them to shoot 57% from the field.
The Suns need to get back on track on that end of the floor tonight, or they could be in for a rough night. They’ll be playing a Celtics team that scored 79 points in the first half on Wednesday night and finished the game with 139. Boston shot 58% from the field and 48% from three, which resulted in six players finishing in double-figures.
A significant determining factor in this game is whether or not the Suns can limit the Celtics' three-point shooting. Boston has gotten 43.4% of their points over the last five games from beyond the arc, which is the most by any team in the league. While the Suns have allowed a three-point shooting percentage of 37% in the last five games, ranking them 17th in that category.
Recently opponents have only been attempting an average of 30.8 three’s a game against the Suns, but that will not be the case tonight, so it will be vital for them to emphasize running shooters off the line. Mainly since the Atlanta Hawks just shot 58% from deep on 33 attempts in the Suns' most recent loss.
The point total for this game is currently listed at 221.5, and I’ll be taking the over as my play. The total initially opened at 226, but it has since been bet down quite a bit, leading me to like the current number. The over is 18-8 when the Celtics play at home this season, and it is 7-3 in the Suns' last ten games.
Over the last ten games, the Celtics and Suns rank 9th and 10th in field goal attempts per game, so the shooting volume will be there tonight. On top of that, I don’t think the Suns' defense will be able to slow down Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, especially after they combined for 57 in the game on Wednesday night.
The last five games that have followed a Suns loss have gone over the point total, and with the way Boston is playing, I expect that trend to continue tonight.