Celtics

That 617 Life Podcast: The NFL's popularity and athletes dealing with their mental health

That 617 Life Podcast: The NFL's popularity and athletes dealing with their mental health

Can the NBA take over from the NFL as the No. 1 pro sports league? Why trade Mookie? Plus, looking ahead to the Super Bowl halftime show, Marcus Smart and the grieving process and more.

1:20 - We're four weeks into the NFL season, but how exciting has it really been? The guys discuss if the NFL product is losing its entertaining factor and whether or not the NBA can take over as the No. 1 professional sports league

7:15 - Cold Cuts and Hot Takes: Cerrone goes off about everyone being so on board with the Red Sox possibly trading Mookie Betts. Is he the second-best athlete in Boston after Tom Brady?

15:20 - Shanda Sounds Off: Shonda covers several topics, including Darren Rovell's comments on the NCAA payment laws, a Percy Harvin interview that had Golden Tate responding on social media and Uncle Luke's comments on Jennifer Lopez and Shakira headlining the Super Bowl halftime show.

23:36 - The trio discusses Marcus Smart's comments about dealing with the grief of losing his mother last year. Are athletes giving themselves enough time to grieve and deal with their mental health or are they under too much pressure to return to the game?

31:38 - Playa's Call - Cerrone, Shanda and Leroy each give their weekly shoutouts.

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Jaylen Brown won't attribute early-season success to Kyrie Irving’s departure

Jaylen Brown won't attribute early-season success to Kyrie Irving’s departure

Jaylen Brown is having a terrific season for the Boston Celtics in the early going. 

His success shouldn't surprise anyone, and he's wouldn't attribute his terrific start to Kyrie Irving's departure to the Brooklyn Nets. In fact, he wouldn't comment on the question, sort of.

At the shootaround Friday ahead of the Celtics' game in Denver, Brown was asked if he and teammate Jayson Tatum felt "freer" to play their style of basketball now that Irving is gone. 

Brown chuckled at the question.

“No comment. Next question," Brown said. 

Questions about the 2018-19 season, clearly, aren't the C's favorite -- probably a season they want to forget. 

With Irving gone, the Kemba Walker-led C's have exceeded some expectations so far this season at 11-3. 

This season, Brown is averaging 18.5 points, 2.2 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game while shooting 47.3 percent from the field and 34.7 percent from beyond the arc. Through the 2018-19 campaign, the 23-year-old averaged 13 points, 1.4 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game while shooting 46.5 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from three-point range.

Brown seemingly has more of an opportunity to play his game this season, according to the stats, despite not directly saying so Friday. 

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Nuggets, which tips off tonight at 8 ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 9 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.

NBA picks: Celtics vs. Nuggets betting predictions, plays against the spread

NBA picks: Celtics vs. Nuggets betting predictions, plays against the spread

Who wants to ride the wave?

We somehow managed to sweep our predictions Wednesday night, correctly picking the moneyline, point spread and point total results for the Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Clippers thriller while hitting our two NBA locks against the spread.

Friday night presents a challenge, though, as the Celtics finish off their West Coast road trip against another Western Conference power in the Denver Nuggets.

Can the C's pull off a road victory against a legitimate title contender, or will Denver send Boston back to The Hub with its first losing streak of the season?

We've got you "covered" with betting predictions for Celtics-Nuggets, as well as two locks against the spread.

(All odds provided by WestGate Superbook)

Boston Celtics at Denver Nuggets, 9 p.m. ET

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Clippers, which tips off Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 10 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.

Moneyline: There's no rest for the weary Celtics, whose final leg of a five-game West Coast trip is a matchup with the 10-3 Nuggets. The C's haven't scored more than 105 points in a game during their road trip and face the third-best defense in the NBA in Denver. The Nuggets (-190) hand Boston back-to-back losses for the first time this season.

Point Spread: As our own Chris Forsberg wrote Wednesday, these Celtics can compete with anyone. Their last two losses have been by a combined four points, so even if Daniel Theis struggles to neutralize Nikola Jokic in the paint, Boston's well-balanced offense should do enough to help the Celtics (+4.5) cover again.

Point Total: The 206 point total is temptingly low, but I'm sticking with my guns. These are two of the best defensive teams in the NBA, which should result in a drag-out, low-scoring affair. Take the UNDER, which has hit in four of Boston's last five games.

Darren's record picking the Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total: 21-11-1

NBA Locks of the Night

Atlanta Hawks (+7) at Detroit PistonsThe Hawks just got through a schedule gauntlet (at Nuggets, at Suns, at Clippers, at Lakers, vs. Bucks) and should be very relieved to face an underwhelming Pistons team. Even if Detroit wins, Trae Young and Co. should keep it close.

San Antonio Spurs at Philadelphia 76ers (-7.5): The Sixers have some flaws, but winning at home isn't one of them. Philly is 5-0 at Wells Fargo Center this season and should cruise against a Spurs team that's lost seven straight.

Darren's record picking NBA locks against the spread: 12-9-1