After becoming the first team to reach the second round of the playoffs, Boston Celtics (4/1 NBA Championship Outright Winner) coach Ime Udoka insists his side doesn’t fear any other franchise in the competition.
The Celtic completed a 4-0 clean sweep over the Brooklyn Nets thanks to a 116-112 win on the road on Monday night.
With his side set to face either the Milwaukee Bucks or Chicago Bulls in the next round, Udoka is adamant his Celtics players fear nobody.
“We said it quite openly, we’re not running from anybody and we’ll let the chips fall where they may,” he told the Boston Herald. “We want to play our best basketball going into it. Obviously on the final day [of the regular season], some teams did what they did and we had to win because we could still go from two to four [seed] so we still had things to play for.
“The overall message that I gave the team and they relayed back to me is we’re not scared of anybody and we’re not running from anybody. If you are going to win, you have to go through certain teams at certain times anyway so might as well get a really good test early. I think it will help us going down the line.”
NBA Betting Odds
Defending champions Milwaukee are the current favourites to progress to the next round to face Boston, as the Bucks hold a 3-1 series lead ahead of Game 5 on Wednesday (Bucks 1/6, Bulls 4/1 – Money Line).
There are three matches taking place on Tuesday night with the Miami Heat having a chance to book their progress into the second round when they host the Atlanta Hawks. Miami won both previous matches at the FTX Arena and having won last time out in Atlanta to go 3-1 up in the series, the Heat will be hopeful of finishing off the job in front of their own fans (Heat 3/10, Hawks 5/2 – Money Line).
The two other games are less defining as the Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves are locked together at 2-2 going into Game 5 with both sides having won one and lost one on home court previously (Grizzlies 2/5, Timberwolves 2/1 – Money Line).
The Phoenix Suns easily topped the Western Conference standings in the regular season but find themselves in a real battle to progress to the second round as they are locked at 2-2 with the New Orleans Pelicans going into Tuesday night’s Game 5 (Suns 3/8, Pelicans 21/10 – Money Line). New Orleans have twice come from behind to level the series and did win Game 2 in Phoenix 125-114 so may not be overawed by their trip to the Footprint Center, despite the Suns losing only nine of their 41 regular season home games.
American Sports Betting Odds