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Bucks vs. Celtics Preview: Bucks go for third win against Rondo-less Celtics

The Boston Celtics are the only team the Bucks have beaten twice all season, and they get a chance to close out an improbable 3-1 series win tonight at the BC.

Jared Wickerham
2013/14 NBA Season
(9-41, 5-19 home)
(18-34, 7-18 away)
February 10, 2014
BMO Harris Bradley Center | Milwaukee, WI
7:00 CT
FS Wisconsin | 620 WTMJ / Audio League Pass
Probable Starters
Brandon Knight PG Phil Pressey
Nate Wolters SG Avery Bradley
Khris Middleton SF Jeff Green
John Henson PF Brandon Bass
Larry Sanders C Jared Sullinger
2013/14 Advanced Stats
91.8 (25th) Pace 93.3 (19th)
99.1 (30th) ORtg 101.6 (25th)
109.3 (29th) DRtg 105.6 (14th)

On the CelticsCeltics BlogRed's Army

Celtic Winnin'. During the early part of the season, Boston counted among the many Eastern Conference teams just dangling on the edge, unsure whether to claw themselves back onto solid ground or just cast themselves off and see where they landed. It didn't last. Before putting together a three-game winning streak to start the month of February, the Celtics had won only 3 games since the middle of December. They now sit 4.5 games behind Charlotte for the EC's final playoff spot, and there doesn't seem to be much urgency to chase it. And really, they're probably lucky to be that close. Most of what few victories they've claimed have come against the fellow dregs of the Easter Conference: Orlando, Philadelphia, Cleveland...BUT NOT THE BUCKS.

In fact, the Celtics are the only team in the NBA the Bucks have beaten more than once (though Milwaukee is a perfect 1-0 against the Lakers). The Bucks took them down on the road in their second game of the year, a contest thoroughly dominated by the Milwaukee's reserves (66 combined bench points). Then Milwaukee took the first game of a home-and-home, a win that snapped an 11-game losing streak. Brandon Knight (20 pts, 9 rebs, 8 ast), O.J. Mayo (22/3/3), and Giannis Antetokounmpo (10/7/4) all played well in the victory.

Beat-up Beantown. Rajon Rondo, rookie center Vitor Faverani, and Avery Bradley all appear on the Celtics' current injury report. Faverani is rehabbing from a sprained knee and remains out indefinitely, while Rajon Rondo continues to work his way back from offseason knee surgery. Rondo played 37 minutes in the Celtics' 102-91 loss to the Mavericks yesterday, but according to the Boston Globe's Gary Washburn, the plan is to hold Rondo out of tonight's contest.

Battered Bucks. And now we turn, as always, to the injury report for the Milwaukee Bucks, which lists almost as a rule no fewer than 5 players. O.J. Mayo is still doubtful as he recovers from a long illness--he has reportedly been working on his conditioning in Milwaukee. Ekpe Udoh continues to recover from an ankle sprain. Luke Ridnour and Ersan Ilyasova missed Saturday's game with back ailments--both are likely questionable for tonight. Finally, Larry Sanders could sit out due to the eye injury he suffered against Houston when James Harden accidentally gave him an elbow to the face. Sanders said after the game that his vision was a bit screwy but he expected to be ready to go on Monday. It sounds like thing are a bit more up-in-the-air than that, but no official word yet.

Anti-Power Rankings. The Bucks remain at the top and bottom, respectively, of ESPN's weekly Tank and Power Rankings. In his Tank Rank column, Chad Ford says that the Bucks are getting close to having the best lottery odds "locked up", sitting 5.5 games "ahead" of #2 Philadelphia. While that technically only guarantees the team a top-4 pick, given the depth of the draft up top, Ford says the Bucks are "virtually guaranteed a potential All-Star."

Meanwhile, Marc Stein is finding it harder and harder to keep following the Bucks, especially given two of his favorite players (Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings) now make their homes elsewhere. Thankfully, there's still Giannis:

All-Star Weekend, starring Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Rookies vs. Sophs game Friday night and then the skills thingy, is almost here. Don't have a clue, though, what we're going to write about in this cyberspace after that to keep anyone but Bucks die-hards (wherever you are) tuned in.