Celtics vs. Bucks Preview and Game Thread | These guys again?

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

The Milwaukee Bucks (7-7) take on the Boston Celtics (9-7) for the third time in 15 games. The teams split the first two meetings, and the road team prevailed each time, but the Bucks hope to turn the tide when the host the Celtics on Saturday.

Treyja vu? For the third time in 15 games, the Bucks will take on the Boston Celtics. It's all a bit excessive at this point. There isn't much left to say. Milwaukee dominated the paint in the first matchup and embarrassed Boston at the TD Garden on Nov. 2. Then on Nov. 10, the Celtics upended the Bucks thanks to a fourth-quarter surge fueled by hot jump shooting from Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. The two games against Boston effectively communicate the up-and-down character of 2012-13 Milwaukee Bucks. Who knows what team will show up tonight. I suppose we should tune in at 7:30 p.m. CT to either FSN-Wisconsin or AM 620 WTMJ to find out.

No Rondo. Rajon Rondo will not play against the Bucks on Saturday night, because he received a two-game supsension for his role in an on-court brawl between Celtics and Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night. He and Kris Humphries were both ejected from that game after the fight shifted to close to the stands, and Rondo's early exit from the contest snapped his streak of 10+ assist performances at 37 games.

Here's a look at what went down on Wednesday, courtesy of the SB Nation GIF machine:

Gflop

The second clip shown below provides the basis for Rondo's ejection and his suspension. Here's how referee and crew chief James Capers explained the on-court call from the contest:

"Rondo initiated everything that proceeded after the foul, and when he and Humphries go into the stands, they are involved in a fight. Fighting is an automatic ejection."

Rondopunch

Courtney Lee started in place of Rondo on Friday in Boston's 96-78 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, and he is expected to get the call against the Bucks as well. Lee posted 10 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals in 37 minutes in the win over Portland.

LRMAM Returns? Ace perimeter defender Luc Mbah a Moute has missed the first 14 games of the season while waiting for his surgically-repaired knee to get back to full strength, but he will finally return to the court on Saturday night. Gery Woelfel and Ted Davis both broke the news that LRMAM will play against the Celtics. If Luc is healthy, he may eventually work his way into the starting lineup again. His defensive prowess makes him a more natural fit alongside Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis than current starter Tobias Harris, and the move might actually benefit Harris as well. [Note: Check out my entire series on LRMAM's defensive impact before groaning]

Over the past five games, Tobias Harris has shot just 38.9 percent from the field (14-for-36) and 14.3 percent from three-point range (1-for-7) while earning a total of six free throws and 17 rebounds. His defensive performance has been spotty-at-best, especially against quicker perimeter players, but his best traits would likely be accentuated alongside savvy offensive veterans like Beno Udrih and Mike Dunleavy, while his weaknesses would be masked when paired with shot blockers like Larry Sanders and Ekpe Udoh. It's a bit counter-intuitive to think another positional logjam would help the Bucks, but in this case I think the unique skill set LRMAM provides makes this a good problem for the 2012-13 Milwaukee Bucks.





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