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Boston/Dallas & Minnesota/Milwaukee Parlay Preview Article

VirginiaCavs

Man Crush on Kyle Guy
NBA Parlay Picks of the Day

Boston Celtics vs. Dallas Mavericks
Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. ET at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas

Meaningless Trend

I heard folks on ESPN emphasize that Boston is struggling to perform on the road.

I hope you don’t let the mainstream media guide your betting choices.

But since I heard this point said on ESPN, i’ll address it.

It is true that Boston is 1-5 ATS in its last six road games.

However, three of those ATS losses came against Phoenix, New Orleans, and Utah, all of which rank top-six in limiting opposing PPP (points per possession) in the pick-and-roll action for the ball-handler.

Because the Celtics run a ton of this play type, those three teams matched up extremely well with them.

The other two ATS losses came against the Kings on the second leg of a back-to-back and against an upstart Washington team that, like Utah throughout the season, has lately been a cover machine.

Otherwise, Boston has won plenty of road games including multiple road games in a row even as the underdog. So it’s not at all like we should worry that the Celtics can’t cover the spread or win on the road.

Boston Offense vs. Maverick Defense: Ball-Screens

Unlike the Suns, Pelicans, and Jazz, Dallas matches up terribly with Boston’s offense because Dallas allows the third-highest PPP in the pick-and-roll ball-handler action.

For Boston, especially point guard Kemba Walker is a crafty executor and finisher of these ball-screen actions. He’s quick, but also skillfully hesitant on the move, and he understands how to create angles.

With his tool set, he masters even conservative ball-screen coverage schemes that are more designed to protect the paint.

Center Daniel Theis has chemistry as a screen-setter both for him and Jayson Tatum, who is lately bolstering his field goal percentage with 35-, 25-, and 32-point efforts in his last three games, respectively.

Dallas’ vulnerable ball-screen defense is something that Boston has multiple weapons to exploit.

The Importance of Balanced Offense

Dallas ranks 23rd in scoring defense because it gets dominated on multiple levels.

On the one hand, Dallas’ poor interior defenders and lack of shot-blocking quality allow opponents to regularly achieve a high field-goal percentage within five feet of the basket.

In addition to quality, Dallas may also miss depth in the interior because power forward Maxi Kleber is ‘questionable’ with a sprained ankle. Likewise, center Kristaps Porzingis is listed as ‘questionable’ with a sore back.

On the other hand, the Mavericks own one of the worst perimeter defenses as they allow one of the highest rates of open and wide open three-point attempts.

Offensively, Boston can beat Dallas both inside and outside with the help of its ball-screen offense.

In addition to the finishing ability of leading scorers Jaylen Brown and Tatum at the rim, both are converting at least 39 percent of their three-point attempts.

Other efficient shooters for Boston include Theis and upstart Payton Pritchard.

Dallas Offense vs. Boston Defense

As we saw when victorious Boston held Atlanta to 109 points after losing to Atlanta while giving up 122 points two days prior, Kemba Walker is crucial to Boston’s ball-screen defense.

Walker’s top-level defending against ball-screens allows the Celtics to rank fifth-best in limiting the opponent in PPP on the pick-and-roll ball-handler action.

This ability to defend ball-screens is crucial against a Maverick offense that runs this play type with the second-highest frequency.

Brown and Tatum are also important to the Celtic perimeter defense.

While Tatum has nice length and is known especially for his help defense, Walker enjoys more lateral quickness and stronger on-ball defensive abilities.

Here you seen an example of Brown quickly coming to the rescue on defense in order to initiate offense on the other end:



Good perimeter defense from both players helps explain why the Celtics rank sixth-best in limiting the opponent’s three-point percentage.

Perimeter defense is an important factor against a Dallas offense that relies rather heavily on attempting three-pointers in order to score.

Trends

Tonight, the situation absolutely favors the Celtics.

Boston is 5-1 ATS on the first game of a back-to-back.

The Mavericks are 0-4 ATS on the second leg of a back-to-back.

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 8 p.m. ET at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Minnesota Offense vs. Milwaukee Defense

Minnesota possesses few guys who want to or can shoot the three.

This lack of shooters is especially apparent without D’Angelo Russell, who was a higher-level source of offense as a producer and a facilitator of points, but who remains injured.

Instead, the Timberwolves very much want to attack inside. They attempt the fourth-highest rate of field goal attempts within five feet of the basket.

This reliance on inside scoring is problematic against a Buck defense that likes to employ drop coverage on ball screens and that likes to employ a unique level of help defense when opponents attack inside.

Because of its scheme plus individuals like the characteristically superb defense of Giannis, Milwaukee allows the third-fewest field goal attempts within five feet of the basket where they also excel at limiting the opponent’s efficiency.

Milwaukee Offense vs. Minnesota Defense

On offense, Milwaukee wants to attempt three-pointers.

The Bucks aren’t great at generating open three-point looks as an offense like Utah’s is, but they nevertheless attempt three-pointers with the sixth-highest frequency.

Defensively, Minnesota characteristically pays extra attention to the perimeter where its defenders rank fourth-best both at limiting opposing open and wide open three-point attempts.

This focus on the perimeter helps explain why the Timberwolves have produced surprisingly positive results against higher-level teams like Utah and Toronto which resemble Milwaukee in its inclination to attempt three-pointers.

New Head Coach

Does bringing in Chris Finch change anything for the Timberwolves?

Finch was wanted especially for his characteristic creativity as an offensive mind.

But Finch is literally just arriving in Minnesota and needs time to introduce different offensive concepts and affect any change.

After joining Toronto in the last offseason, the Raptors didn’t immediately improve in the scoring department. In their season opener, for example, they failed to reach 100 points against New Orleans’ awful defense.

But Finch has left his mark and, over time, Toronto’s offense has improved this season.

So Finch’s arrival in Minnesota should only lead us to expect improvement in the Tmberwolves’ offense over time and not right away.

If anything, Finch’s arrival will produce stronger defense tonight because Minnesota players will be extra motivated to invest more effort in order to impress their new head coach and earn more playing time.

Parlay Verdict

Boston’s superior ball-screen defense and balanced offense will ensure a cover against a possibly short-handed but definitely defensively dismal Dallas in an inferior betting situation.

Minnesota and Milwaukee are each built to stop the opposing offense from doing what it wants to do most.

Best Bet: Parlay Celtics ATS & Timberwolves/Bucks under 231 at -108 at x odds with Heritage
 

VirginiaCavs

Man Crush on Kyle Guy
While Tatum has nice length and is known especially for his help defense, Walker enjoys more lateral quickness and stronger on-ball defensive abilities.

My bad, I meant Brown instead of Walker.
 

pip2

Well-Known Member
OK boss, 2 separate bets, Celtics and Timberwolves under. The Celtics have been killing me in live betting lately but maybe this will get them back on track...
 
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