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Celtics/Bucks: Milwaukee hoping to surprise the Beasts of the East on ESPN

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2010/2011 NBA Season

Mil_medium

vs. Bos_medium
23-37 (15-15 home) vs. 45-15 (18-10 road)
March 6, 2011
Bradley Center
8:00 PM
Radio: 620 WTMJ TV: ESPN
Probable starters:
Brandon Jennings PG Rajon Rondo
John Salmons SG Ray Allen
Carlos Delfino SF Paul Pierce
Jon Brockman 
PF Kevin Garnett
Larry Sanders C Nenad Krstic

(30th) 101.0 - OFFENSE -  107.6 (14th)
(4th) 102.8 - DEFENSE - 100.3 (2nd)
(24th) 90.0  - PACE -  91.0 (22nd)

On the Celtics: Celtics Blog / Red's Army / 
Celtics Hub

A year after limping down the stretch, the Celtics return to the Bradley Center with the best record in the Eastern Conference and a slew of new faces. 

JS: Celtics blend Allen's smile with Garnett's attitude
Do you remember where you were on March 10, 2010? It now seems like an eternity ago, but that was the night the Bucks out-battled the Celtics for a hard-fought 86-84 win at the BC. Andrew Bogut dominated the C's front line (25/17), Brandon Jennings was talking trash to Kevin Garnett, the Bucks were looking like a team on the rise, and the Celtics were looking...old.

And yet here we are a year later and things look much more like 2009 than 2010. Boston leads the East at 45-15, the Big Three (plus that Rondo guy) are all-stars, and the Bucks once again look like a M*A*S*H* unit in need of lottery luck. But Charles Gardner writes that it's more than just luck for the C's and their, ahem, maturing stars such as Ray Allen. 

"That's a testament to his work ethic," said Bucks guard Michael Redd, who was mentored by Allen early in Redd's career with Milwaukee. "It just gives me hope. I'm 31; he's 35.

"We've talked about having your body in the right shape. He looks like he's 23 or 24 years old; he looks terrific. He's my standard."

Green Machine. The Celtics' decision to deal Kendrick Perkins seemed to shock the Celtics' players and coaching staff--even if it ain't broke, Danny Ainge will try to fix it--but Doc Rivers' bunch just keeps winning in spite of the distractions. The C's have now won four in a row since the deadline deal that brought Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic to Boston, with Green breaking through with 21 points on 11 shots in Friday's win over the Warriors.    

The main concern since the deal has been on the defensive end, which is perhaps not surprising given the substitution of Krstic for Perkins. Since the trade, the Celtics have allowed 115, 110, 106, and 103 pts/100 compared to their season average of just over 100 pts/100. Don't expect their struggles to continue, but it's still something to keep an eye on given the Celtics' championship ambitions.

SBN: Bucks Struggling To Repeat 2010 Surprise Success
Evan Dunlap recaps the Bucks' struggles to replicate their success of a year ago--believe it or not, it's the shooting.

Of the 16 Bucks to take the court this season, only Jon Brockman has an effective field-goal percentage--a metric which adjusts for three-point shooting--over the league average of 49.7 percent. His 55.6 percent figure is fantastic in and of itself. However, because he's a rebounding specialist who averages one shot attempt every 7.5 minutes, it's very nearly as though the Bucks don't have a single competent shooter.

Alternatively, I think TheJay may have discovered what's really going on.

Hollinger Playoff Odds: 10% 
The Bucks have been on the outside of the playoff picture for a while now, they haven't won consecutive games in over a month, made no moves at the trade deadline, and it's not clear when their best player may get back on the court--not exactly a recipe for playoff optimism.  And yet they remain just three games behind the Pacers for the 8th playoff spot, which still reads like a misprint to me. Then again, it's also worth noting that the Bobcats are also ahead of them and chasing Indiana, which is why John Hollinger estimates the Bucks have just a 10% chance of making the playoffs. 

Woelfel: Keyon Dooling talks labor negotiations
Gery Woelfel spoke to players union VP Keyon Dooling about the latest efforts to avoid a lockout later this summer. 

What do you think will be the biggest stumbling block to a CBA resolution?

I would say going back and retroactively negotiate contracts, ripping them up and reducing them. I think that's going to be a tough one. I think that's going to be very tough from my perspective.

I think a hard cap will be something that will be tough to implement as well. I think the unguaranteed contracts from a player's perspective will also be hard to fold on.