Tomorrow night should be a an electric night for basketball in Boston, the Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas has exploded offensively igniting a turnaround for the Boston Celtics that probably makes them the favorite to maintain their home dominance over visiting opponents, if he can keep the point run going and stay hot.
The Celtics are on an upswing and want to improve on an already impressive record in Boston when they play the visiting Denver Nuggets, as they meet up at TD Garden on Wednesday night.
Boston with a 25-21 record is coming off two straight wins and taking four of the last six in this series. Three of those four wins Boston won as host which extended their impressive home stretch against Denver who have a lesser record of 17-28.
Histortically, the Celtics have been victors in their last five meetings with Denver, in Boston and won 21 of 24 dating back to 1990. The Nuggets are a measly 3-16 at TD Garden since it opened its doors to fans for the inaugural opening in the 1995-96 season.
The last two games of Boston’s current three-game win streak has come on the road, at Philadelphia and Washington respectively. After dominating the 76ers 112-92 on Sunday night, Thomas led the Celtics to a 116-91 beating the Wizards on Monday in a back to back.
The rather small 5-foot-9 lefty shooter won the match up of point guards against the Wizards’ John Wall. He got his sixth straight 20-point game by finishing with 23 along with nine assists over three quarters. On the other side, Wall had 10 assists, and he turned the ball over four times, scoring just eight points from the line on 3-of-11 shots.
In his last 10 games, Thomas has averaged 25.4 points and 6.4 assists which has led Boston to win six of the final eight outings.
“You always are excited when you’re a guy like Isaiah who’s got a chip on his shoulder to challenge himself against the best,” said coach Brad Stevens, whose team has won three straight home games. “But I think Isaiah’s pretty consistent regardless of who we’re playing in how he approaches every night.”
Denver doesn’t have the same All-Star caliber point guard like Boston. That counts doubly as bad with Jameer Nelson having missed the last five games with a sprain injury to his left wrist. The last time he faced them while playing with Sacramento in February 2014, Thomas scored 33 points.
The Celtics weren’t always as hot, they had gone cold offensively in seven games Dec. 27-Jan. 10, shooting at 40.5 percent while averaging only 98.3 points. But now they’ve hit 45.7 percent in nine games since while averaging 112.6 points overall. They are only behind league leaders, the Golden State Warriors who have an average of 117.1 points per game from Jan. 12-25.
So Boston is looking to one up themsleves and match a season-best winning streak set a month ago today. Whereas, Denver is just going to try to avoid sinking into another mid-season hole.
Though the Nuggets did have some positive stretches this season. Thet got wins in four of six, and four of five and five of six games at different intervals. But the long droughts that they had, really hurt them. Its the losses they had in four of five and nine of 10, paired with an eight-game losing skid that have just decimated their chances for a post season run.
How did that happen? Well, they dropped three of their final four on an eight-game homestand which totally negated their positive start to the new year. Denver had opened its longest home stretch of the season with wins in three of four games, which included an impressive win of 112-110 over NBA-leading Golden State on Jan. 13. But since they have been slipping.
Looking back to Monday’s less than impressive performance of 119-105 losing to Atlanta, completed the 4-4 homestand on a low note before the Nuggets headed out of town to play eight of the next 10 games on the road. Since the trip started, they’ve lost five of six.
“It’s definitely frustrating only going .500 (on the homestand),” said Will Barton, who scored a team-high 21 points against the Hawks. “We did some good things but we’ve got to figure out how to bring it every night.”
So who will be the likely winner of this match up? You can bet that the Celtics won’t let the Nuggets walk in and push them around. The Celtics look to be back on track, especially against losing teams. And despite the Nuggets being a young talented team, it’s hard to trust them on the road with their previous record, and particlarly against a hot Boston team. So you can bet that Boston should win by double digits.