The Conference Finals are almost here. But, we still have one more second-round game to get through. The Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers have given us an incredible series of NBA Playoff basketball. And, it will all come to an end on Mother’s Day. We’ll be locked in on the longest-tenured member of the C’s as one of our favorite NBA Props for Sunday.
Boston is a 6.5-point home favorite over Philadelphia on Sunday — tip-off is at 3:30 ET. Although it doesn’t make any sense, the Celts have been just 9-9 at home over the last two postseasons. This pales compared to their 12-6 playoff road record since 2022. So, it remains to be seen if they can show up in front of their TD Garden crowd.
The reigning Eastern Conference champs will need a big game from Marcus Smart in this one. He’s shouldered an increased offensive load lately. And, he should see all the playing time he can handle in a win-or-go-home situation. So, we’ll be taking an over on Smart tomorrow afternoon.
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NBA Props for Sunday (5/14)
Marcus Smart Over 23.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists (-113 @ Caesar’s)
The Boston Celtics have been called the “deepest team in basketball” for much of the 2022-23 season. But, their optimal rotation may be thinner than we thought.
Head Coach Joe Mazzulla played just seven guys in their Game 6 win on the road. Surprisingly, Grant Williams and Sam Hauser didn’t even see the court on Thursday.
Derrick White returned to the bench in Game 6, while Robert Williams returned to the team’s starting lineup, which helped spark the defensive success that made this team elite last postseason. And, this move opened up more opportunities for our guy Marcus Smart, who logged a sky-high 42 minutes two nights ago.
Mazzulla has trusted Smart in a huge role as much as anyone on this Celtics roster. Yes, even Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Smart has ranked within the top three on the Celtics in scoring, usage, minutes, and shot attempts over the last four games. His excellent defense makes him more essential than Malcolm Brogdon, while his confidence and aggression keep him on the floor over Derrick White.
The 2022 Defensive Player of the Year has averaged 38.1 minutes per game since Game 3 of this series. And, he’s posted 27.5 PRA per game, further proving why this line is too low for Sunday’s game.
Smart has become a trusted playoff performer for Boston, as the franchise looks for its third Eastern Conference Finals appearance in the last four seasons. Most importantly, the man is fearless. Sometimes, this has been a negative for the Celtics, particularly in the regular season. However, in a Game 7, this should keep Marcus on the floor and looking to hoist shots up.
Since the 2020 Playoffs, Smart has cashed this over in seven consecutive elimination games. He even averaged 29.3 PRA per game in these seven contests. The man has thrived when the Celtics have had their backs against the wall, and we saw this in Game 6 when he finished with 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists.
It feels safe to say that the Boston guard will be locked into around 40 minutes of action again in Game 7, which is perfect for this play. He’s reached this over in 6 of 9 games seeing at least 32 minutes this postseason. He’s averaged 27.4 PRA per game in these contests and was just a basket shy in each of his three misses.
Even better, Smart has logged 36-plus minutes in 20 playoff games, going back to 2021. He finished with at least 20 PRA in every single game, and he cashed our over in 17 of these 20 games, good for an average of 29.7 PRA per game.
Marcus Smart will be heavily relied upon on Sunday afternoon, as the Celtics attempt to defend home court. His fearlessness should lead to plenty of shot attempts, and as long as he stays out of foul trouble, he should play nearly the entire game. This line feels a few points short, given the circumstances of an incredibly consequential game for Boston.
Enjoy playing our best NBA Props for Sunday and Join us for the rest of the NBA playoffs!