Charlotte Hornets at Boston Celtics Betting Preview
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by Real Bookies - 4/2/2021 12:13 PM Share

The Hornets and Celtics square off in an Eastern Conference showdown Sunday night at 6 pm ET. Charlotte has been a surprising team this year, sitting near the top four of the East's playoff race.

Boston has disappointed, sitting two games under .500 and at the eighth seed in the East entering April 2 action.


The East is wide open, after all, as just 1.5 games separated the Hornets and Celtics entering the weekend. However, there's no denying Boston has underwhelmed simply based on their past performance.

With two teams defying their preseason expectations, let's break down this Charlotte-Boston game. We'll dig into each team's strengths and weaknesses and make a pick in this betting preview.

Charlotte Hornets: Homecoming for Some

This will be a homecoming for Charlotte's two leading scorers, Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier, both former Celtics. Hayward played for Boston for a couple of seasons, opting out of his contract this summer to sign with Charlotte.

Rozier was included in a sign-and-trade package when Boston acquired Kemba Walker.

Charlotte has been weathering the loss of rising rookie LaMelo Ball. Ball was the presumptive Rookie of the Year before a wrist injury sidelined him for an indefinite period.

The aforementioned Rozier and Hayward each average 20 points per game, leading a respectable Charlotte offense.

Offense is most definitely the Hornets' strength, as they sit near the league average in most offensive metrics. Their calling card is the three-point shot. Charlotte is seventh in the NBA in threes made per game and 11th in three-point percentage.

Expect a barrage of long-range shots against the Celtics. Rozier and Hayward are both shooting 42% from deep, as is guard Malik Monk. Devonte Graham averages 38% from three, shooting eight of them a game.

This matchup is one to keep an eye on, as Boston is poor defensively against the three, especially lately. The Hornets' defense is no strong suit, as it is currently a bottom-five unit in most of the major categories.

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Boston Celtics: Struggling of Late

Boston has not had a good season and is currently on a 3-7 slide in its last 10 games. It can be hard to understand what the issue is, as Boston has two young wings, both named All-Stars this season.

Jayson Tatum leads the team in scoring, with 25.3 points per game. Jaylen Brown is right behind him, averaging 24.5.

The top-heavy roster may be the issue, one that Danny Ainge has attempted to remedy with the acquisition of Evan Fournier at the trade deadline.

The team has played an uninspiring brand of basketball of late, and their depth sticks out. Behind Walker, who hasn't played as well as you'd expect a $30 million man to play, the point guard position remains a question.

The team lacks a big who can shoot, often cramming the lane and keeping shooters from getting open.

On the positive side, center Robert Williams has been a revelation, averaging 7.7 points per game, 6.7 rebounds and nearly two blocks. It won't show on the stat sheet, but Williams' athleticism is on display nightly, with multiple alley-oops sparking runs.

The Celtics defense has not been strong of late, creeping near a bottom 10 unit in the NBA. Online sportsbooks have adjusted their lines according to this data.

Game Pick

It's hard to ignore these two teams going in completely different directions. Even without Ball, the Hornets are letting it fly.

The Celtics are likely to be home favorites, and with a potentially large spread, I prefer the Hornets in this one. Built to shoot the three and playing a Celtics team ill-equipped to stop it, expect plenty of treys on Sunday.

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