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New Orleans Pelicans vs. Boston Celtics - 3/16/14

Boston Celtics (22-44) at New Orleans Pelicans (26-39)

NBA Basketball: Sunday, March 16, 2014 at 6:00 pm (New Orleans Arena)

The Line: New Orleans Pelicans -5.5 -- Over/Under: 196 See the Latest Odds

TV: Fox Sports New Orleans

For just the second and final time this season, the Boston Celtics and New Orleans Pelicans will share the hardwood. When these teams played on January 3, the Pelicans won 95-92.

The Celtics have lost three in a row and five of their last seven games, and it all starts on the offensive end. On the season, they’re averaging 95.2 points on 43.2 percent shooting, and are averaging 92.8 points on 40 percent shooting in their last five games. They’ve scored 100-plus points just once in their last seven games. Defensively, they’re giving up 99.2 points on 45.5 percent shooting on the season. The Celtics are 32-33-1 ATS overall and 17-14 ATS on the road.

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Boston Celtics - 3/16/14

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Pelicans have lost two straight and 10 of their last 13 games. Their struggles continue to take place on the defensive end. On the season, they’re allowing 102 points on 46.5 percent shooting, but those averages have spiked up to 107.4 points on 47.7 percent shooting in their last five games. Offensively, they’ve actually increased their average to 109.2 points in their last five contests, as they usually score just 99.5 points. The Pelicans are 28-33-4 ATS overall and 16-14-1 ATS on their home court.

The Celtics are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 1 days rest and 1-7 ATS in their last 8 vs. Western Conference. The Pelicans are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 home games vs. a team with a losing road record and 1-7-1 ATS in their last 9 games playing on 1 days rest. The Celtics are 2-5 ATS in the last 7 meetings in New Orleans, while the underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings.

The spread is simply too high for a team that is struggling at both ends of the floor. While the Celtics aren’t a team worth writing home about, they at least still take pride on defense and put up a fight.

I expect this game to come down to the wire like the last two meetings have. And don’t be surprised if Boston wins SU.

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