Friday afternoon hoops tips off with the Celtics hosting the Knicks at TD Garden looking for a fourth consecutive victory. The Celtics have had wins on the road against the Pelicans and Timberwolves, bookending a rout of the Cavs at home.
This will already be the third matchup of the season between the two division rivals with the teams splitting the results and the away team winning each contest.
The Knicks have predictably struggled this season but have been a streaky team with blowout losses and surprise victories, like the one against the Celtics a fortnight ago.
Both teams average a tick under 109 PPG but it’s the Celtics defence where the game will be won and lost. The Celtics give up 10.3 PPG less than the Knicks and will be looking to shut down Tim Hardaway and co on their way to another victory.
The line looks healthy, especially for a Knicks team who’s already beaten the Celtics on their home floor.
A replay of the Western Conference semi finals sees the Utah Jazz host the Houston Rockets on Friday afternoon. They have been two of the disappointments of this season and both sit with records below .500 in 12th and 13th respectively in the Western Conference standings.
Chris Paul has returned for the Rockets and after blowout wins over the Spurs and Bulls, looked to be getting things back on track before a second half meltdown against the Timberwolves in their last outing. The Rockets led by 14 at the main break before being held to just 29 second half points and losing by 12.
The Jazz returned home from a three-game road stretch with a commanding 139-105 win over the hapless Spurs and have now won three of their last four. It was only Utah’s third win at home for the season from nine matches and will head into this match as very slight favourites in a genuine flip of coin match.
It really depends on what Rockets team shows up but the value on offer against a struggling Jazz team is worth the gamble.