NBA Betting - New Orleans Hornets vs. Boston Celtics (Friday 8:00 PM ET)
Sportsbook.com lists Boston as a seven-point favorite, with a Total of 189. ESPN will have this as opening game of its Friday night twin-bill starting at 8 pm ET.
There was off-season speculation that the first NBA title for Celtics' Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen might have quenched some of their desire.
Garnett and Allen joined Pierce in Boston last season, creating a formidable trio of veteran All-Stars all desperate for their first title. They got it in June, leading to some talk that Boston wouldn't be as hungry this season.
That hasn't been the case so far, as the Celtics (13-10 ATS) have gotten off to the best start in franchise history at 21-2.
Boston took care of business last night, matching a season-high point total in a 122-88 rout at Washington. It was the club's 13th straight victory, making them 33-18 ATS in the first half of the season over the last two seasons.
The Hornets (12-6, 9-9 ATS) expect to be heading to the postseason with the Celtics, despite some early struggles this season.
New Orleans, which lost five of seven from November 5th-19th, led by as many as 23 points in a 105-89 win over Charlotte on Wednesday night, the team's seventh win in eight games since last month's slump.
Those results, however, could be misleading. During its hot stretch, New Orleans has beaten only two teams that made the playoffs last season, Denver and Phoenix.
It also has two wins over NBA-worst Oklahoma City, and one apiece over the Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis and Charlotte. New Orleans is just 14-29 ATS in road games off a home win by 10 points or more.
The Celtics shot 57.4% from the field in splitting their series with the Hornets last season.Pierce averaged 27.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists while going 16-for-26 (61.5%) in those games.
Hornets forward David West had 37 points on 15-for-25 shooting in a 113-106 home win over Boston on March 22nd, but was held to 14 points in a 112-92 road loss six days later.
The C's are 30-10 ATS versus good teams outscoring their opponents by three or more points over the last two seasons.
As sharp an angle as that is, Boston is an even better 12-3 ATS in home games when the Total is between 185 and 189.5 points, with averaging winning margin an imposing 18.5 points per game.
Note that the Hornets are 14-4 Under in a road game where the Total is between 180 and 189.5 points.
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