Wednesday’s game was an odd affair. AD randomly got sick and left the game for a spell, only to have Jahlil Okafor wreck Milwaukee’s defensive game plan. D.J. Wilson and George Hill were key components to victory. As I said, odd. Either way, it resulted in a victory for the Bucks, who have now won five of their last six. Tonight should be a proper test for them, particularly after the way Boston exploited their defense with pick-and-pop threes throughout the night. I’m betting the Celtics won’t have another historic shooting night, but the Bucks thankfully won’t have to spar with Al Horford or Aron Baynes, both of who are out with injury. Giannis Antetokounmpo should feast tonight against a weakened interior. Ersan Ilyasova is again out tonight with that broken nose.
Player to Watch: Eric Bledsoe
Lingering memories of his woeful playoff performance seemed to spill into his first game against Boston this year. Bledsoe seems stuck in some sort of mental rut when it comes to the Celts, and a midseason matchup is the perfect time to finally buck that trend. The Bucks will need him bulldozing through screens aplenty tonight to contain Kyrie Irving’s dribbling tricks.
After rattling off eight wins against relatively mediocre competition, the Celtics have now dropped two straight, including their last loss to the Phoenix Suns. Sadly, we can’t sneer too much at that given the Bucks’ loss. For much of the first few weeks of this season, Boston got by on their stingy defensive performances. They’ve remained stout on that end, but their offense has finally perked up. They’re up to 12th in terms of points per possession, per Cleaning The Glass, as their cavalcade of wings start to acclimate to playing with one another. Their hyper-switchability will be an interesting test for Milwaukee, but look for Giannis to potentially get more post-ups than usual tonight. If Robert Williams winds up as Boston’s primary center, the rookie could get worked by the Greek Freak. Marcus Morris is also questionable tonight.
Player to Watch: Marcus Smart
Smart is a bulldog, a bully and an absolute pest on the floor. His shooting is flighty, but he’s a menace defensively. I wonder if Brad Stevens will do his best to get Smart matched up on Giannis, who’s had trouble with some smaller guards facing him in year’s past. Smart’s ability to poke the ball away from him in the post will be just as annoying as his inevitable flopping. Boston’s defense is versatile, but Smart is certainly a centerpiece of it’s whirring parts.
Game 31: Against Boston, the Bucks will...
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Win big (by 10 or more points)
Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose big (by 10 or more points)