Celtics face Bucks for second-time this week
The Boston Celtics face the Milwaukee Bucks once again after a down-to-the-wire finish on Wednesday night. A few faces on the C’s will not be on the court tonight after the NBA trade deadline: Daniel Theis, Jeff Teague, and Javonte Green have all been traded to other respectable squads. On the flip side, the Bucks did not make any trades because they are a well-balanced team. Who comes out on top tonight in round two of Boston vs. Milwaukee? You know what time it is, the breakdown shakedown!
Odds: MIL +6, BOS-6
Tip-off: March 26th, 7:30 p.m. EST, Fiserv Forum
The Celtics made a few surprising moves at the NBA trade deadline with Daniel Theis, Jeff Teague, and Javonte Green all departing from the C’s yesterday. With Theis gone, I anticipate more court-time for Robert Williams III (Time Lord) while Tristan Thompson remains in the NBA health and safety protocol. Semi Ojeleye will be OUT tonight as he sustained a hip injury wednesday night.
Offensively, the Celtics came out firing against the Bucks, but quickly found themselves in a hole going into the half down 11 points. To make matters even worse, by the time the third quarter ended, the C’s were down 19 points. The Boston team did make a surprising comeback late in the fourth quarter with a surging 33 total points, but a last-second missed 3-point shot by Daniel Theis sent the C’s home with another loss. We saw the scoring dominance of Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker as the duo combined for 47 points and 8 assists. Tatum is due for a big game as he posted only 18 points on Wednesday night. The other upside, the C’s were 10/10 on Free-Throw attempts.
Defensively, the Boston team kept Giannis Antetokounmpo in check with only 13 points. However, the team surrendered 27 points to Khris Middleton as he was taking shots from all ranges on the C’s defense. Not to mention the 3-game was killer for the C’s as Bobby Portis racked up 21 points off the Bucks bench. The Boston squad was however impressive in creating turnovers, limiting Giannis, and significantly playing better fourth quarter defense. The goals tonight remain the same as earlier in the week, limit the 3-pt damage done by the top Bucks players, create turnovers, and stay out of foul trouble.
The Bucks are currently on an eight-game win streak and continue to showcase their versatile playmakers and playmaking abilities on both sides of the court. With a fully-loaded offense courtesy of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, Donte DiVincenzo, and Bobby Portis, the Bucks are a legitimate NBA contender. Can the Milwaukee squad pull off another victory tonight at home?
Offensively, the Bucks played well for nearly 3 ½ quarters on Wednesday night against the Celtics. The biggest issue was they became careless with the ball and let the C’s nearly complete one of the largest NBA point deficits, lucky for them former Celtics player Daniel Theis missed the game-sealing 3-point shot. Khris Middleton continues to prove he can shoot from any range and rack up points for his Bucks team. I anticipate a greater contribution from Giannis tonight as he will be at full-strength and anxious to prove he can bounce back quickly and effectively. The Milwaukee team shot 45.9% from the 3-point range and 50% from the FG range Wednesday night.
On the defense, the Bucks limited the damage done by Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart. However, they struggled heavily with Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker as the duo played with clear aggression and motive to keep their C’s squad in the game. The most impressive part of the Bucks defense was their constant attack on securing rebounds and creating second-chance plays for their offense. As the Celtics Core Four will once again be on the court tonight, the Milwaukee team will need to watch out for a strong attack after the close finish in their first meet this week.
ANALYSIS AND BEST BETS
Considering how close Wednesday night’s matchup was for the Celtics and Bucks, I am anticipating a really tight game tonight as well. I think we see a more balanced offense on the Celtics side, and for the Bucks, I think we see Giannis and Jrue contribute heavily tonight. We are in for another epic NBA matchup folks!
My first best bet is for Brook Lopez to post OVER 12.5 points tonight. Earlier in the week, Lopez racked up 17 points against the Celtics and has versatile shooting capabilities. On the season, Lopez averages 11.5 points per game. I anticipate he will find himself once again attacking the rim, getting to the free-throw line, and creating open shots tonight to secure that OVER 12.5 points.
My second best bet is for Jaylen Brown to post OVER 23.5 points tonight. Brown racked up 24 points against the Bucks earlier this week and continues to showcase his dominance and shooting range on the court. On the season, Brown averages nearly 25 points per game and I anticipate he will once again put up some mega points for his Celtics squad tonight.