After a tough 72-game schedule where they dealt with their fair share of injuries, the NBA playoffs are finally here for the No. 2 seed Brooklyn Nets. The Nets led by the big three of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden will begin their postseason against the No. 7 seed Boston Celtics at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC. We’ll take a look at the series odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook and ultimately give our pick to win this first round matchup.
It honestly does not come as a major surprise to see the Nets favored by a whomping -1430 odds against the Celtics. The Nets won the three-game series in rather convincing fashion over their Atlantic Division foes. Brooklyn will enter the playoffs and Game 1 with a healthy squad, which something that we could not say often. Durant has missed some time, along with Irving and Harden. In fact, a starting lineup that has featured those three players have only played 75 minutes together. Will that become a factor in the playoffs as Brooklyn tries to advance? That’s a question which will be answered in this series and more importantly in Game 1.
Who will win the series?
This won’t be a clean sweep between these division rivals, but the Nets should be able to beat the Celtics in five games. Boston might give Brooklyn a scare early in Game 1 after just playing in the play-in tournament against the Washington Wizards. However, it will just be too much firepower for the Celtics to contend with in Harden, Durant, and Irving.
Harden has pretty much been a triple-double machine since he was traded from Houston to Brooklyn. In 36 games with the Nets, Harden is averaging 24.6 points, 10.9 assists, and 8.5 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, Durant is averaging a smooth 26.9 points per game on 53.7 percent from the field and 45 percent from three-point range. Irving quietly averaged 26.9 points per game, while shooting 50.6 percent from the field, 40.2 percent from three, and 92.2 percent from the free throw line.
Jayson Tatum should and will be a key focal point of Boston’s offense as he’s coming off an electrifying 50-point outing in the play-in tourney. But can the Celtics depend on Kemba Walker to be a secondary scorer without the likes of Jaylen Brown? In his last four regular season games, Walker averaged 29.8 points per game and shot 50.6% from the field and 45.9% from three-point range.
Boston will need that type of production from Walker to help out Tatum to at least steal one game from the Nets. In the regular season series, Brooklyn won by an average of 15 points, which is not great news for Boston. The Nets should take this series comfortably.