Boston Celtics vs. Minnesota Timberwolves - 12/19/14 NBA Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Minnesota Timberwolves (5-19) at Boston Celtics (9-14)
NBA Basketball: Friday, December 19, 2014 at 7:30 pm (TD Garden)
The Line: Boston Celtics -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
TV: FSN, CSNE
The Boston Celtics host the Minnesota Timberwolves in an interconference clash on Friday night.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are predictably faltering this year with a record of 5-19 that includes a 2-9 mark away from home. The Timberwolves haven’t found an identity on offense after the departure of Kevin Love ranking 20th in the league with 98.3 points per game and the defense that was deficient in years past has grown worse conceding 108.5 points per game to rank 29th. The TWolves enter this contest on a three game losing streak after struggling through a six game losing streak prior to that with a home win against the Blazers mixed in between. Leading scorer Kevin Martin is sidelined with a wrist injury which has really exacerbated the offensive woes of this team. Thaddeus Young leads active players with 14.5 points per game and rookie Andrew Wiggins is posting 12.6 points per game on 39.6% shooting. Gorgui Dieng leads the team with 8.1 rebounds per game and is seeing an increased workload with the injury to starting center Nikola Pekovic. The Timberwolves were expected to regress this year but the injuries they’ve endured have left the team pretty helpless.
USA TODAY Sports
The Boston Celtics are 9-14 to start the year with a 6-8 mark at TD Garden. The Celtics enter this contest on a two game winning streak against lesser foes, and they’ll have to like their chances of extending that streak with a similar caliber of opponent in town. The Celtics can put up points in a hurry averaging 104.5 points per game to rank 6th in the NBA, but the defense has been awful conceding 105 points per game to rank 27th. A key to the offensive success of the team has been the play of PG Rajon Rondo, who averages 10.8 assists, 7.5 rebounds and 8.3 points per game, but Rondo has been traded to the Dallas Mavericks as of Thursday night. Jeff Green (19.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg) and Jared Sullinger (13.8 ppg, 8.2 rpg) will be te key pieces for the franchise moving forward but expect a decline in the team's offensive output in the near term. With Marcus Thornton out with an injury, look to see Evan Turner and Marcus Smart see increased minutes as we likely see Avery Bradley assume the point guard duties until a more permanent solution emerges.
The first game after a major trade is always a tricky spot so be prepared to tread lightly or find better spots on Friday's card. Please check back for confirmation on my free pick and unit rating once the line is released.