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March 26, 2018

There is one NBA pick tonight.

Take Phoenix Suns +9 spread against Boston Celtics for 3% of the bankroll.

The Suns are a poor team and very much in rebuilding mode this season but even bad teams put up competitive performances from time to time and we believe this matchup bodes well for them. There are several factors why that is the case, something that we'll examine in the following paragraphs.

The Celtics have been hit by the injury bug late in the season and have a decimated squad right about now. Missing Gordon Hayward was a devastating blow right at the beginning of the season but it's not his absence that matters much at this point given that they quickly learned how to play and win without him. However, the fact that Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart and reserve big man Daniel Theis are out is a big deal. Irving has taken ownership of this team and was in the MVP conversation earlier in the season when the C's were flying high as the #1 seed in the East at the time. He has done a tremendous job as the Boston PG with his ability to score or create shots for others making him indispensable. Marcus Smart happens to be the team's best defender, especially from the guard position and his mental toughness is an important asset for the Celtics. And then there is German import Daniel Theis who established himself as part of the rotation for Brad Stevens by contributing in multiple different categories as a big that can play the 4 or 5 spot when Boston goes 'smaller' and is just as capable of blocking shots as he is draining 3's! He's not a guy who gets big minutes but he was an important part of the second unit for this team and is missed.

Boston has done a great job staying afloat despite the various injuries but on the second night of a back-to-back schedule on a road trip, we believe they could find it difficult. Luckily for them, they are going up against one of the worst teams in the league in Phoenix but we still think this is far from an ideal situation for the travelling gang in green and white and it may not be as much of a mismatch as people think. After all, the Suns have lost 11 games in a row and will be keen to snap this ugly skid. They'll want to give their home fans something to cheer about and would much rather get a 'W' at home than on the road. The front office is happy with this lottery-bound team but they still want to keep fans interested and sell tickets for next season which is why the effort they expect from the players is higher in this game than some of the upcoming ones away from home. 

Devin Booker and TJ Warren will likely sit out again for the Suns but Phoenix has found a go-to-scorer in rookie Josh Jackson. The athletic forward struggled early in the season but has really found his groove in the second half and is playing with a lot of confidence right now. Look for him to be the focal point of the offense with Troy Daniels playing the role of the 3-point shooter from beyond the arc. The fact that Jackson can drive to the basket or hit midrange shots or even from deep makes him a tough player to guard. Alan Williams is likely to make his season debut for Phoenix tonight and could get time as the backup Center with the second unit. He's the type of guy that plays with a lot of energy and gets the fans out of their seat, not by making spectacular plays but by his will-to-win and hussle plays. With the hosts desperate for a victory, look for them to give the tired Celtics all they can handle. Boston will still likely find a way to win but it won't be a walk in the park. We think the Suns can keep this competitive and within single-digits.

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