Posted: 12/10/2009 7:26:50 PM
Tonight Boston plays the first game of a 3-game road trip that will swing through Washington, Chicago, and Memphis. Since Kevin Garnett joined the team and brought with him a maniacal defensive intensity quickly adopted by his teammates, The Celtics have taken a very serious approach to their road trips. No, I mean, REALLY serious. This all began two months into Garnett's first season with Boston. The new look Celtics began the 2007-2008 season on a rampage, ripping off 22 wins in their first 25 games. People were impressed, to say the least, but not everyone was impressed. Despite recording an incredible 19 double digit wins in their first 25 games, the Celtics heard whispers about how the majority of those wins came at home in the Garden. Some people were suggesting that the Celtics hadn't been "tested" yet, and chose to take a "Let's wait and see how they do on their West coast trip" approach. This, evidently pissed the Celtics off.
Since Garnett brought his competitive ferocity with him from Minnesota, the Celtics have become a team that's looked to feed off of any perceived slight, real or imagined. Doc Rivers once said of his players "It doesn't take them much. I swear they, like, search the newspapers to find something. I don't need to give rah-rah speeches."
So, the Celtics headed to California just after Christmas in 2007 and began their road trip in Sacramento, taking the floor that night at Arco Arena evidently fuming over those who wanted to see if they could keep up their excellent start while out West. That night, the Celtics completely stuffed the Kings, holding them to 69 points on meager 38% shooting while beating them by 20 points. Boston went on to sweep that road trip, finishing with a shocking 110-91 blowout win over the Lakers in L.A.
The defensive mindset that Boston took with them on that first long road trip as the new Garnett/Pierce/Allen Celtics set a tone that the team has stuck to to this day. Since the start of that championship season, tonight will be the start of Boston's tenth road trip of that least three games. In the previous nine, the Celtics have played under in eight of them. Here are the games:
December 26, 2007, start of a 4-game trip
With the total at 190, Boston won, 89-69 (under by 32)
February 19, 2008, start of a 5-game trip
With the total at 208, Boston lost, 124-118 (over by 34)
March 15, 2008, start of a 5-game trip
With the total at 208.5, Boston won, 99-77 (under by 32.5)
April 5, 2008, start of a 3-game trip
With the total at 188, Boston won, 101-78 (under by 9)
June 10, 2008, the first of 3 games in L.A. during The Finals
With the total at 195.5, Boston lost, 87-81 (under by 27.5)
November 1, 2008, start of a 3-game trip
With the total at 193.5, Boston lost, 95-79 (under by 19.5)
December 25, 2008, start of a 4-game trip
With the total at 202, Boston lost, 92-83 (under by 27)
February 11, 2009, start of a 6-game trip
With the total at 186.5, Boston won, 89-77 (under by 20.5)
November 29, 2009, start of a 4-game trip
With the total at 187.5, Boston won, 92-85 (under by 10.5)
So that's 8 huge unders in 9 tries, the eight games going under by a ridiculous average of 22.3 points per game. Now I know you're thinking "Uh, yeah, that's great, but what about that game in Denver that went over by a million?" I knew you'd ask, and of course I have a perfectly reasonable explanation. That was the first game after the All-Star break, and more importantly, it was Kevin Garnett's first game back in the Boston lineup after missing ten games with an abdominal strain. That night against the Nuggets, Garnett was mostly useless, playing 21 ineffective minutes and admitting afterwards that he was both out of shape and tentative. He recorded as many turnovers as points (4).
So throwing out that game, it seems fair to conclude that this Garnett-led Celtics team brings its defensive "A" game to the start of any extended road trip. Although the sample size is small, the margins of victory are huge.
Okay, this being Covers, I know at least a few of you want to ask me "Hey, can I unload on the first half under 97.5? I'm in a huge hurry to win anything!" To that I would say "Hold your horses", because in two of these huge eight unders, the first half went way over. In fact, I played this trend just 11 days ago when the Cetlics were in Miami. Midway through the first quarter, I was totally . The game slowed down a little bit, but at halftime Boston led 55-48 and I was still like . But, Boston brought the jailhouse defense in the second half and in the final minute of the game, with room to spare, I was like .
The fact is, if you choose to bet this under with me tonight, there is no need to freak out if the first half is high scoring, because all that means is we'll get to double-pop this sucker at halftime. In the second halves of these 8 monster unders, the average score has been Boston 40 Opponent 39. So save the tears should they score 55 in the 1st quarter and instead nut up with me at halftime and laugh.
Having said all that, I must add this disclaimer. As you know with any full game or second half under wager, there lies among us the evil specter of......overtime. It can kill any beautiful under selection, so DON'T overbet either the 195 or the second half. There are few ways to lose that are more soul-crushing than by being dead right and getting your pockets emptied anyways.
So good luck if you choose to follow. I'm excited about this one. Normally with an under I of course immediately start rooting for BOTH teams to suck, but tonight I don't have to sweat any early scoring because that will just set up a very strong halftime play. I'll have another possible play at halftime of the Orlando/Utah game, and I'll start another thread for that if the situation I'm looking for presents itself.
Two threads from Bator in one day? garbage, let's make some money!