Celtics (8-2, 3-1 road) @ Bucks (5-5, 2-2 home)
Gametime: 7:30 p.m. central time (FSN-W)
|Rajon Rondo||PG||Luke Ridnour|
|Ray Allen||SG||Charlie Bell|
|Paul Pierce||SF||Richard Jefferson|
|Kevin Garnett||PF||Luc Mbah a Moute|
|Kendrick Perkins||C||Andrew Bogut|
Bucks: Michael Redd (ankle) has missed six straight games and is day-to-day. Charlie Villanueva tweaked his hamstring on Wednesday and missed last night's game in Memphis
08/09 Advanced Stats:
Celtics: Offense: 27th (100.6/100 possessions) Defense: 2nd (95.8) Pace: 10th (92.9)
Bucks: Offense: 24th (102.1 points/100 possessions) Defense: 11th (103.6) Pace: 17th (91.0)
Back-to-back. Both teams traveled overnight to Milwaukee following Friday games, so neither team will be particularly well rested. While the Bucks were sneaking out of Memphis with a win, Boston had their six game winning streak snapped at home by the Nuggets--a surprise in general, but then again swapping Allen Iverson for Chauncey Billups should make Denver a much better basketball team.
Lessons learned. The Celtics are the Bucks' first repeat customers of the young season, with Boston having dealt the Bucks a 101-89 loss just eight days ago. Richard Jefferson had it going early against Paul Pierce with 14 first quarter points, but Pierce had a superb all-around game and came away with the W, despite the Bucks led by as many as 13 in the first quarter and hung close through three quarters. In the fourth they ran out of ideas as the Celtics' ball movement and stifling defense was too much. Hey, they're champs for a reason. An obvious key for tonight: taking advantage of the Celtics' bench. In the first meeting the C's got solid minutes from Eddie House, Leon Powe, Big Baby, and Tony Allen, which spells big trouble when you also have to deal with the likes of Garnett, Pierce, Rondo, and Allen. Last night in Boston that wasn't the case, as House was the only non-starter to hit a shot.
Getting offensive. Scott Skiles' teams have never been synonymous with offensive efficiency, so it's not surprising that the Bucks' improved defense (11th overall) has not gone hand-in-hand with a similar improvement in offensive efficiency (24th vs. 21st last season). Of course, part of that is likely due to the absence of Michael Redd for the past six games--both the defensive improvement and the offensive sluggishness. What's interesting is that aside from the Bucks' huge 37-assist game against Washington, their assist numbers have been pretty poor in spite of often playing with two point guards. Only once in the past five games have the Bucks tallied more than 17 assists, and in three of those games they've had as many or more turnovers as dimes. In other words, the assists Redd creates for others with his shot-making probably outweighs his own lack of playmaking.