Phoenix Suns vs. Boston Celtics – NBA, April 22, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| April 22, 2021 5:10 am PDT

Although these teams are not as closely matched in the standings as people might have thought at the start of the season, it is still no doubt a highly anticipated matchup between two very skilled teams. The Suns are chasing down the Jazz in the race for the Western Conference, and a win tonight will put them one game behind their rivals. It will also open up some daylight in the Pacific Division between themselves and the Clippers, so there is plenty to play for tonight for Phoenix.

The Celtics are clutching onto the final automatic playoff berth in the east, and as such, every game feels like a must-win one right now. With both teams highly motivated tonight, it makes for a mouth-watering encounter.

Phoenix and Boston have alternated wins over their previous six matchups, and if that trend were to continue tonight, then it would be the Celtics leaving the TD Garden the happier of the two. When they last met in February, the Suns won a very low-scoring 100-91.

The teams have also been closely matched when playing in Boston as they have split the last eight games played there.

Here are the game odds, my team analysis, and betting prediction.

Suns vs. Celtics Odds

Suns -6.5 -110
Celtics +6.5 -110
Suns To Win -235
Celtics To Win +220
Over 220.5 Points -110
Under 220.5 Points -110

I didn’t quite expect the spread to be as big as it is tonight. I anticipated it would be around half of what it is tonight.

When they met a little over two months ago, the spread was only two and a half points, and although the Suns covered it easily, I thought the bookmakers would have only extended by a point or two at the most. It’s probably due to the long list of injuries the Celtics have right now.

Suns Form Analysis

There is no doubt that the Suns are playing some fantastic basketball right now, and if the playoffs started tomorrow, they would have to be considered one of the favorites. They have only lost two of their previous 15 matches, and they both came against west coast teams in the form of the Clippers and the Spurs. Their last two wins came against the Bucks and the 76ers, who are placed third and first in the east, which shows you what type of form the Suns are in.

They have the best record on the road in the west, having won 19 of their 26 away fixtures. The Suns have only lost two of their last 14 away trips, making this a daunting task for the Celtics tonight.

Here are the latest betting trends for Phoenix:

Bet Type Trend
Total Ten of their last 13 matches have gone over the betting total.
ATS Phoenix has only lost one of their previous ten games against the Celtics.
SU They have lost eight of their last 12 matches against Boston.
ATS The Suns have won on eight of their previous nine visits to Boston.
Total Only one of their last six games against Eastern Conference opposition has failed to go over the points total.
Total Six of their previous eight matches against teams based in the Atlantic Division have gone over the betting total.

The most important information to take from this data is that it points towards a high-scoring matchup.

The Suns have been deadly accurate this season, and as such, they have an excellent offense. They have been fantastic from the field goal range, where they have a success rate of 48%, which is the second-best in the league. They also have the second-best figures from the free-throw line, so it appears anything in and around the basket will be sunk tonight.

However, this doesn’t all stem from their shooting ability, as they are arguably the best passers of the ball in the league, creating many scoring opportunities. They have made the most assists and one of the fewest turnovers in the NBA this season.

However, they haven’t performed quite so well on the road and are scoring on average two points fewer per game than their overall average.

Another criticism of their offense would be their rebounding, as they have one of the lowest averages per game in the league. However, when you are making as many baskets as they are, it doesn’t become a factor.

What’s worse for the Celtics is the Suns have an even better defense. They have been good at defending against teams that like to shoot from deep as they have held their opponents to a 34% success rate from the three-point range. This is significant as this is probably where the Celtic’s biggest strength lies. If they can take that away from Boston’s arsenal, you have to feel it will be a big step in the right direction to winning this game.

An area improvement for their defense would be in their blocking, where they are only averaging four blocks per game.

The Suns have a relatively healthy team tonight, with Nader being the only player listed as questionable to feature tonight.

Celtics Form Analysis

The Celtics are also playing some great basketball right now, and their defeat against the Bulls last time out was their first in seven matches. They threw the game away in the third quarter when they lost it by 14-points. Before that defeat, they had beaten four Western Conference opponents back to back, so perhaps facing the Suns will be surprisingly a welcome return against west coast teams.

Their form at home has been excellent as they have won 18 and lost 11 of their 29 games. They have only lost two of their previous seven home fixtures, and they both came against Eastern Conference opponents.

Here are the latest betting trends for Boston:

Bet Type Trend
ATS The Celtics have only lost one of their previous six matches.
Total Nine of their last 13 games have gone under the betting total.
Total Only two of their previous six matches against Phoenix have failed to go under the points total.
Total The total has gone under in ten of their last 12 home games.
SU The Celtics have won their previous six games against teams from the west coast.
Total Five of their last seven games against Pacific Division opposition have gone over the betting total.

This confirms the Celtics are playing exceptionally well right now and that this truly is a matchup between two of the most in-form teams.

The Celtics have an average offense this season that has been relatively accurate for most of this campaign.

Their defense has been solid despite not being the best at covering their opponents, especially from the three-point range where they have allowed their opposition to score at a rate of 37%. This is coincidentally what the Suns are averaging this season so expect more of the same tonight.

As already touch upon, the Celtics have an ever-growing injury list that contains some key players. They will miss Fournier and Williams tonight, who have both been confirmed as out. Walker and Brown remain doubtful to feature, but they are hopeful to have Smart and Tatum fit for the game.

Suns vs. Celtics Pick

  • Suns -6.5

It’s a shame the Celtics have so many injuries tonight as this could have potentially been one of the games of the season. With the number of injuries they have, you feel the Suns will be too strong against such a depleted team.

Even if the Celtics do get one or both of Smart and Brownback tonight, you would have to question whether they are 100% fit. They missed these players desperately against the Bulls last time out, and Chicago went on to get thumped by Cleveland after this match which tells you all you need to know about their form right now.

The Suns will be bouncing after back-to-back wins over two teams that have aspirations of going all the way this season, and therefore I have to take Phoenix to cover the handicap.



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