NBA Best Bets: Boston Celtics vs. Portland Trail Blazers prediction, pick, odds

The Boston Celtics can't catch a break. The team is tired after playing back-to-back overtime games against the Knicks and Cavaliers. The Celtics lost both of those games and four of their last five games. But let's not act like the world is ending. The Celtics are still 45-21 and one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Regardless, tonight's game against the Portland Trail Blazers is essential for the Celtics. The Blazers are 31-34 on the season and are now playing their fourth straight road game. The Celtics will look to get back on track in tonight's game.

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The Celtics will be near full strength tonight. Robert Williams III won't be back, and Payton Pritchard is questionable, but Jayson Tatum and Al Horford are expected to return. Therefore, this is a game that the Celtics don't want to lose. Boston's been very consistent throughout the season. Things have just taken a turn over the last two weeks. But they've scored 117.8 points per 100 possessions, which is still fourth in the NBA. Boston also shoots an effective field goal percentage of 56.6% and turns the ball over 13.4%. Both of those numbers are top seven in the league. The Celtics have never been dominant on the offensive glass. But Portland has allowed 28% of offensive rebounds. Therefore, the Celtics might get more opportunities to earn second chances and score at a higher rate.

On the other hand, Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers have been fun to watch. The Blazers have won two straight games over the Magic and Pistons. So that's not a real flex, but at least the Blazers are winning the games they should be. The Blazers have added 117.5 points per 100 possessions and shoot a 56.3% effective field goal percentage. Portland also gets to the foul line at a higher rate. However, earning second chances will be challenging, and getting to the foul line won't be as easy, with the Celtics holding teams to a free throw rate of 18.4.

That's third-best in the league. The Celtics are also first in limiting offensive rebounds. The Blazers typically have a good offense, but the defense is why Portland is under .500. The Celtics should exploit that and play better defense against the Blazers. As a 10-point favorite, this is the perfect game to help get the Celtics back on track. They'll be home against a Blazers team that lacks defense. Let's take the Celtics at -10.