Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics (-4.5, 191.5)
The Brooklyn Nets have taken to their new home, winning seven of eight at Barclays Center to jump to the top of the Atlantic Division. The road has not been nearly as kind. The Nets will be looking to move to .500 on the road when they visit the Boston Celtics on Wednesday. The Celtics have won back-to-back games but have yet to solve the defensive problems that have plagued them over the last two weeks.
New Jersey beat the crosstown-rival New York Knicks in overtime on Monday to forge a tie between the teams atop the division. Boston enters Wednesday in fourth place, behind the Philadelphia 76ers. The Celtics have controlled the Atlantic with a stingy team defense since bringing Kevin Garnett to town five seasons ago but have had trouble incorporating several new pieces into their scheme.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, YES (Brooklyn), CSN New England (Boston)
ABOUT THE NETS (9-4, 8-3-2 ATS): Brooklyn got things done Monday with the inside-outside combination of Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, each of whom recorded a double-double. Those two are part of the home-road problem for the Nets. Lopez is averaging 21.3 points and 6.6 rebounds in eight home games but has seen those numbers dip to 16.0 and 6.4 in five contests on the road. Williams is averaging 18.3 points and 10.1 assists at Barclays Center but 14.2 and seven away from it. Third-leading scorer Joe Johnson has had the same problems. Brooklyn is beginning a three-game trip at Boston.
ABOUT THE CELTICS (8-6, 5-7-2 ATS): Boston has never been a great rebounding team in this era of success, preferring to run back on defense instead of crashing the boards. While the Celtics still are last in the NBA in rebounding, they also have slipped into the bottom third in scoring defense recently. Boston needed overtime to squeeze out a 116-110 victory at the lowly Orlando Magic on Sunday and has allowed the opposition to reach the century mark in four straight games. Some of the problems on defense began on Nov. 15, when the Celtics dropped a 102-97 decision at Brooklyn.
* Favorite is 3-0-1 ATS in the last four meetings.
* Home team is 4-1-1 ATS in the last six meetings.
* Under is 6-2 in the last eight meetings.
* Nets are 0-3-1 ATS in the last four meetings.
1. Celtics PG Rajon Rondo missed the Nov. 15 meeting with an ankle injury. Rondo has recorded at least 10 assists in each of his last 37 games.
2. Boston had taken three straight in the series before dropping the first meeting this season.
3. The Nets have been at their best defensively in the fourth quarter of the last three games, holding teams to an average of 15 points.