NBA Labor Day picks: Celtics vs. Raptors, Clippers vs. Nuggets
Both the Toronto Raptors and the Denver Nuggets turned in big games just when things were starting to go south for them, but can they keep it up as the favorites look to respond?
The Raptors and Celtics collide at 6:30 p.m. ET, and the Clippers and Nuggets follow at 9:00 p.m. ET. BetAmerica has the odds and picks for Monday night’s games.
Mon, September 7 2020, 10:30 PM
The defending champions are no longer on the ropes after evening their series at two apiece against the Celtics. Their stout defensive performance in game four kept Jaylen Brown in check and made Kemba Walker look invisible. A combination of clutch shots made by Pascal Siakam and strong play off the bench from Serge Ibaka helped the Raptors made a statement in Game 4.
This series is now in danger of swinging away from the Celtics ahead of this big Game 5 match. While the Raptors are digging their feet in and playing with purpose, they can’t assume Boston will continue with such tepid play as the series progresses.
Boston wasn’t going to win this game shooting only 20% from three-point range, and they aren’t going to repeat the feat Monday night. While the Celtics remain a strong team, the Raptors are scrapping together big plays and doing so with conviction.
As the series continues, it’s looking more that the Game 1 blowout was an anomaly, and we’re in for a hard-fought series. Expect the Celtics to avoid the shooting pitfalls from the last game, and to escape the Raptors and take a 3-2 series lead.
NBA pick: Boston moneyline
Tue, September 8 2020, 1:05 AM
With premature talks of a sweep dominating the conversation before their Game 2 match, the Nuggets got off to a hot start and kept the Clippers at bay to tie the series at 1-1. The Nuggets might have to do it again with a hobbled Nikola Jokic, who is day-to-day with a wrist sprain and questionable for Game 3.
Jokic aside, the big question is if the Nuggets’s bamboozling of the Clippers will carry over on the court with Los Angeles’ adjustments on defense. Jamal Murray can’t beat Kawhi Leonard and Paul George by himself, and he’ll have to take on a much bigger load if Jokic is compromised on the court.
What doomed the Clippers was Leonard’s unbecoming performance. He only shot 4 of 17 from the field and scored 13 points. Had Leonard been slightly off, there’s a chance they could have turned the game around late, but he was badly out of sync in the 10-point defeat.
While Denver denied the sweep, this is still the Clippers’ series to lose. A focused Leonard and tough, physical play from Patrick Beverly and Marcus Morris on defense should give the Clippers the win via blowout.