For the third time in this not yet mature season, the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics will square off. The teams split their previous two meetings, with the most recent being a Boston victory in Milwaukee during the MECCA game. The newly energized Bucks are on a three game win streak and are looking to re-calibrate the thinking on where they stand in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks are one of two teams to leave Boston with a win and the Bucks will want to make sure Boston remembers them as this is the last we will see of the Celtics until they come to Milwaukee on April 3rd.
Playing the Sacramento Kings twice in three games will certainly help any team and that help was needed for Milwaukee. The three consecutive victories have the Bucks back within punching distance of the top teams in the East. Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to be headache for other teams as he collected his ninth 30-point game over the weekend. Since acquiring Eric Bledsoe, the Bucks have led the league in opponents turnovers, with forcing 18.5 per game, and are converting those turnovers into nearly 21 points, which is good for second in the league over that 11 game time span.
Player to Watch: Eric Bledsoe
The aforementioned Bledsoe was in Phoenix during the previous two meetings against Boston and his addition for tonight’s edition will be important. Kyrie Irving turned into a wizard at MECCA, spinning and maneuvering around Milwaukee defenders who played as great of defense as they could against Irving. Bledsoe has collected a +48 rating and five total steals over the last two games. His active defense on Irving will be a big factor in slowing down Boston.
Since the ultimate throwback game on October 26th, the Celtics have scorched the league with a 17-2 record. The Celtics dispatched the pesky Phoenix Suns on Saturday night, 116-111, to become the first team in the NBA to eclipse the 20-win mark. Even without Gordon Hayward the Celtics look like a contender. They are top-10 in the league in three-point shooting and in getting to the free-throw line. The Celtics lead the league in defensive rating and their stellar defensive play has been the backbone to the start of their season.
Player to Watch: Al Horford
In the previous meeting, Horford crushed the Bucks with a team-high 27 points while also connecting four of his five three-point attempts. Horford did everything right in that game was even one rebound shy of a double-double. He has scored 20 or more point in two of his last four games and there should not be any doubt that the Celtics will try and scheme Horford into another 20 point night.
What Vegas Says
The fine folks over at Bovada Sportsbook have the Bucks listed as six point underdogs and the over/under at 204. I’m inclined to take the under here, but if we average out each teams’ offensive and defensive ratings against one another we would see the Celtics come away with a 108-103 victory. So I guess take the Bucks at +6 and bet the over.