Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics: Predictions and Odds
The Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks are second in the Eastern Conference, two games back from the Toronto Raptors who are leading the East and the league in win percentage. The Bucks are riding a three-game win streak after defeating Anthony Davis’ New Orleans Pelicans and will look to make it four against their Eastern Conference rivals.
The Bucks are performing well for a team that still has a bit to figure out. George Hill is yet to pay dividends for them, while free agent pick-up Ersan Ilyasova has been glued to the injured list. Look for the Bucks to give players like D.J. Wilson and Sterling Brown more time as the newer pieces find their way.
With two regular season wins over the first place Toronto Raptors, the Bucks will now want to stake their claim as contenders in the East by defeating last years Eastern Conference Finalists the Boston Celtics.
The Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are currently fifth in the Eastern Conference, 4.5 games back from first place after a loss to the streaking Phoenix Suns. After an eight-game win streak was snapped by the Detroit Pistons, their comeback match against the Suns failed to proceed as planned. They will be tested by the Milwaukee Bucks.
It seems the injury bug just won’t leave the Boston Celtics as just two minutes into the match against the Phoenix Suns, a natural follow-through from DeAndre Ayton collided with the hand of Baynes causing a left fourth metacarpal fracture.
The Celtics have already been short all season, with their only classic centre out of the lineup, the Celtics are going to struggle on the inside even more. Hopefully for the Celtics, Al Horford will be back to man the centre spot on Friday.
What’s At Stake?
The Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics are two storied NBA franchises, both with championship hardware to their name. The all-time series between the two teams is neck and neck, with the Boston Celtics leading 109-102.
The Bucks are currently second in the Eastern Conference and with a win would be one game behind the Toronto Raptors for first place.
The Celtics are climbing their way back up the ranks of the Eastern Conference as they currently place fifth in the table. A win would bring the Celtics to within a game of the fourth place Indiana Pacers.
Questions to answer
Can the Bucks take care of the ball?
Will the Celtics be able to score inside?
We are going to compare the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks in an attempt to see which team has the advantage.
The Celtics will try to Turn the Bucks Over
The Boston Celtics are currently fifth in the NBA in points off of turnovers with 17.3 points per game. The Celtics sport stout defenders in Marcus Smart, Marcus Morris, and Terry Rozier who will challenge the Bucks for all 94 feet.
It is no secret that the Bucks run their offence through Antetokounmpo. While he is their primary ball handler, Antetokounmpo is absolutely not from the Jose Calderon school of ball protection. With a 1.5-to-1 assist to turnover ratio, pressuring Antetokounmpo with the ball is a surefire way to stifle their offence.
Look for the Celtics to send a myriad of defenders at The Greek Freak in an attempt to slow the Bucks offence. Seeing as the Bucks have been conditioned to settle for either three-point or inside shots, pressuring in the mid-range should be of little worry to the Celtics.
The Bucks have the NBA’s best interior defence
The Milwaukee Bucks average a league best 40.5 points allowed in the paint per game. Put simply, the Bucks force you to put the ball on the floor and challenge you to beat their long interior defenders in the paint.
Meanwhile the Celtics are second in the league in points generated off of three-point shots at 35.9%. With the lineup that Brad Stevens touts, there is a clear focus on moving the ball for the open shot more than it is challenging matchups.
Against the Bucks it will be pick your poison for the Celtics. The Celtics convert from three at a high rate, but the Bucks are known to run players off the three-point line. It will be interesting to see where Brad Stevens organizes his team to beat the Bucks.
Milwaukee Bucks Roster Notes
F Ersan Ilyasova (face) will not play on Wednesday and is unlikely to play on Friday against the Celtics.
G Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring) is listed as day-to-day but is fully expected to play against the Celtics.
G Trevon Duval (eye) will not play in the Bucks’ match on Wednesday and will be reevaluated before their match against the Celtics.
Boston Celtics Roster Notes
C Aron Baynes (hand) broke his left hand on Wednesday and is out indefinitely.
F Marcus Morris (knee) will not play on Wednesday against the Suns and is unlikely to play against the Bucks on Friday.
F-C Al Horford is ruled out of the game on Wednesday against the Suns, but is not yet ruled out for the match against the Bucks.
F Guerschon Yabusele (ankle) is being evaluated on a week-to-week basis and is listed as out indefinitely.
Giannis Can Run Free
The Celtics lost their key rebounding threat in Baynes on Wednesday and The Greek Freak will have all the time to roam the court with one less player to challenge him on the glass.
Giannis is averaging 26.8 points per game, 13.1 rebounds, and 6.0 assists while shooting 59% from the field. His level of dominance in the paint hasn’t been since since Shaquille O’Neal and their games are drastically different.
Giannis is a one-man fast break. His freakish size and athleticism mixed with ridiculous skill with the ball allows him to be the primary ball handler through all 94 feet of the court. The Celtics will look to crowd Antetokounmpo early and force other players to beat them, easier said than done.
Kyrie Irving Will Have to Shoulder the Scoring Load
So far this season, Irving is averaging 22.7 points per game, 6.3 assists per game (a career high), while shooting 48% from the field, and 40% from three. Despite some early struggles, Kyrie has rounded back into form for the Celtics.
Obviously the Celtics have many talented scorers, however with the sheer amount of injuries the Celtics have Irving will be asked to create in isolation even more than he already has. Now that Baynes is out indefinitely, Irving loses his primary screener in pick-and-roll sets.
The Milwaukee Bucks, like the Celtics, are a top defensive team. They currently rank first in the league in defensive rebounding which leaves very few second chances for the Celtics. Look for Irving to orchestrate a pragmatic and efficient offence, in order to not be caught on the break by the Bucks.
Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics Predictions and Odds
The odds makers have the Boston Celtics favoured over the Milwaukee Bucks by 3, with an over/under of 110.