Predictions For Boston Celtics’ Upcoming Road Trip
Predictions For Upcoming Road Trip
In arguably their toughest series of games so far this season, the Boston Celtics travel out West for the next eight days to take on some of the best teams in the NBA.
The time away from Beantown lasts for five games and includes a dreaded stretch of four games in five nights. The road trip should serve as the biggest test yet for the young ball club headed by Brad Stevens. The Celtics have dropped six of their last seven games, including three losses at home, all coming by just one point. Boston has been plagued with inconsistency and has been unable to hold even double digit leads. With offensive powerhouses like the Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors all on the Celtics' radar, they are going to have to stay focused on defense for all 48 minutes in every game.
Jared Sullinger -- arguably the Celtics' best player -- has been struggling mightily over his last five games while trying to combat an injury to his hand. Sullinger has hit just 27.6 percent of his shots during that timespan, en route to average a meager 8.0 points per game. Celtics fans better pray for his health, and pray for some stellar play from the C's key players like Jeff Green, Jordan Crawford and Avery Bradley, because they're going to need to bring their A-games on both ends of the floor for all five games if Boston has any chance of coming out of this road trip alive.
Jan. 5 @ Oklahoma City Thunder
While it won't change the outcome of the game, the Celtics do catch a break due to of the injury of Russell Westbrook. With that being said, the Thunder have still won three of the five games they've played without him. OKC remains one of the league's best two-way teams. They rebounded from two losses at home with a close win over the Minnesota Timberwolves last night behind Kevin Durant's 48 points (whom the Celtics have no answer for). After dropping their last two games at home, the C's have zero momentum coming into this contest, so it's tough to see them leaving with a win.
Prediction: Boston 93, OKC 104
Jan. 7 @ Denver Nuggets
Luckily for the Celtics, the Denver Nuggets have also had their own share of struggles lately. Denver snapped an eight game losing streak on Friday with a 111-108 win over the (also struggling) Memphis Grizzlies, which put the Nuggets at 8-8 at home. The last time these teams met, Boston took the game 106-98. Ty Lawson is still one of the best point guards in the NBA, but he is going against a premier stopper in Avery Bradley, and was held to just 6-14 shooting in the first meeting. The C's are coming into this one hungry and should come out with the victory.
Prediction: Boston 96, Denver 87
Jan. 8 @ Los Angeles Clippers
Injuries work in the favor of the Celtics again. This time, the afflicted is Chris Paul, who is essential to the Clippers' success. In LA's first game without Paul, the San Antonio Spurs annihilated them 116-92. While the Clips won the last game against the Celtics, a big part of that was the play CP3, who torched Boston for 22 points and nine assists. Jeff Green was the player of the game, and poured in a game-high 29 points. If the Celtics win in Denver, they should be able to beat the crippled Clippers, even on the road.
Prediction: Boston 104, Los Angeles 100
Jan. 10 @ Golden State Warriors
After a shaky start, the Warriors got hot and haven't cooled off since. They have won eight straight games, including a comfortable victory over the Miami Heat on the road. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are sure to give the Celtics problems, and Oracle Arena may be the toughest place to play in the NBA. The Dubs will beat the Celtics into the ground; it won't be close.
Prediction: Boston 83, Golden State 102
Jan. 11 @ Portland Trail Blazers
Although they have dropped three of their last five, the Blazers haven't cooled off by any means, as each loss came by two points or less. While LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard are the most likely candidates to put up big scoring numbers when the Celtics come to town, Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum can both explode on any given night. CJ McCollum is also likely to be back in the rotation when the C's visit. The Celtics' defense just won't be able to control Portland's onslaught.
Prediction: Boston 107, Portland 121