Celtics

Danny Ainge: Celtics 'looking' but no 'short-term urgency' to make a move

Danny Ainge: Celtics 'looking' but no 'short-term urgency' to make a move

The Boston Celtics are in the midst of a mini-slump as they near the mid-point of the NBA season. They've dropped three games in a row, including an 11-point loss to the rival Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night.

Part of the reason that the team hasn't done well is that their offense has sputtered. The C's have twice scored fewer than 100 points in their past three games after failing to reach that mark in just four of their previous 33 games.

Despite their recent struggles, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge isn't feeling any "short-term urgency" to acquire some help, especially if it means sacrificing young assets.

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"I don’t think I’m looking at any short-term urgency to trade away all my young assets to get some veteran player," Ainge said, per Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. "But we’re looking. We’ll have conversations before [the] trade deadline like we do every year."

Ainge is always one of the more active GMs in trade talks and that's part of how he earned the moniker of "Trader Danny". But last season, the Celtics didn't do much at the deadline and elected to stand pat.

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Ainge's hands may be tied a bit this trade season. The Celtics roster lacks the mid-tier contracts needed to facilitate a trade for a big-earner without moving one of Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, or Marcus Smart.

So, if the team makes an upgrade, it may have to be one of the smaller kind, unless they're willing to pull the plug on Hayward if they don't think that he, Brown, and Jayson Tatum can coexist.

We'll soon see if Ainge has anything up his sleeve. Still, even amid the team's recent struggles, he clearly still believes in this squad and doesn't want to sacrifice his best assets to make a desperation-based move.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Pelicans-Celtics, which tips off Saturday at 6:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike and Scal have the call at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Kemba Walker injury: Celtics star (knee) ruled out vs. Jazz as road trip ends

Kemba Walker injury: Celtics star (knee) ruled out vs. Jazz as road trip ends

The Boston Celtics won't have Kemba Walker for Wednesday night's matchup against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City.

The veteran point guard will miss his fourth straight game after the C's officially ruled him out Wednesday afternoon. Walker has been dealing with a sore left knee and has not played on the Celtics' road trip, which ends in Utah.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

The 29-year-old star last played for the Celtics in their win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 13. He played three days later in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, including a long stint in the fourth quarter when the matchup got really competitive. Should Walker have played in the All-Star Game given the situation with his knee? No, probably not, but the team is taking the right approach by sitting him now and not letting the injury get worse. 

The Celtics will need Walker to be healthy and ready to go come playoff time. If he has to miss a few games in February and March for that to happen, so be it. Walker is averaging 21.8 points, five rebounds and 4.1 assists per game this season.

Second-year center Robert Williams (left hip bone edema) also has been ruled out for Wednesday night's game versus the Jazz.

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Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Jazz, which begins Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 10:30 p.m. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.

Celtics vs. Jazz odds: Best NBA picks with Boston as road underdog

Celtics vs. Jazz odds: Best NBA picks with Boston as road underdog

If the Boston Celtics want to be legitimate title contenders, they'll need to win tough games.

Enter Wednesay's contest against the Utah Jazz, who sit fifth in the Western Conference standings and host a Celtics team on the second night of a road back-to-back.

Boston took care of business Tuesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers but will be without Kemba Walker again as the All-Star guard recovers from a knee injury.

That means the Celtics will need Jayson Tatum to stay piping hot if they want to earn a win as rare underdogs against Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz.

Here are our betting predictions for Celtics-Jazz, as well as two NBA locks against the spread.

(All odds provided by WestGate Superbook.)

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

Boston Celtics at Utah Jazz, 10:30 p.m. ET

Moneyline: The Jazz have lost three in a row out of the All-Star break and just took Mike Conley out of the starting lineup. Boston's only two losses in its last 12 games are to the Lakers and Rockets. That's enough evidence for me to take the underdog Celtics (+180).

Point Spread: The Celtics (+5) have covered in 12 of their 16 games as underdogs this season, the second-best rate (behind the Lakers) in the NBA. They ride Tatum to victory against a Utah team that's 3-9 against the spread in its last 12 games.

Point Total: I'm always tempted to take the under whenever the defensive-minded Jazz are involved, but these teams have hit the over in four of their last six meetings. Expect the point total to go OVER a modest 218.5 point total.

Darren's record picking the Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total: 78-44-1 (63.4% success rate)

NBA Lock of the Night

Minnesota Timberwolves at Miami Heat (-11): The tanking Timberwolves have covered just twice in their last 15 games and have lost three consecutive games by double digits. They stand no chance in Miami against the NBA's second-best home team (23-3).

Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks (+4): The Hawks are awful on the road but have won six of their last seven at home. Trae Young carries Atlanta over a Magic team that's 3-10 against the spread over its last 13 contests.

Darren's record picking NBA locks against the spread: 39-41-1 (48.1% success rate)