It’s been a hot-and-cold start to the season for the Milwaukee Bucks, who are 2-1 with a loss to the Miami Heat sandwiched between victories. Their latest effort against the Cleveland Cavaliers featured a late runaway scoring spree that sealed the win, but the young Cavs still gave Bud’s club trouble. They take on a top-flight East team in this one against the Boston Celtics in a rematch of last year’s Round 2 matchup.
The Cleveland victory was a balanced scoring effort across the board, with Khris Middleton as the only one to cross 20 points (netting 21). A bevy of scorers in the teens was headlined by George Hill (19) and Pat Connaughton (17) who provided a boost off the bench. Giannis Antetokounmpo (14 points, 7 ast and 10 reb) and Eric Bledsoe (14/8/4) played the role of facilitator, but combined to shoot just 11/31 from the field. Giannis was also only 4/8 from the charity stripe, a frustrating trend from the first few games. They’ll have to find more defensive intensity for a Celtics team boasting many more weapons than Cleveland.
Player to Watch: Eric Bledsoe
Bledsoe knows how difficult it can be containing Kemba Walker from his time last year employing the rearview pursuit tactic to try and discomfort the sharpshooter from behind after slithering around a pick. Walker is the point guard prototype that can theoretically hurt Milwaukee’s zone drop scheme, and it’ll be Bledsoe’s job to quell the damage.
When last the Boston Celtics faced the Bucks, the Northeastern team was busy getting their butts booted out of the gym in a 4-1 Playoff defeat. Giannis throttled Al Horford’s defense, and Kyrie was chucking his way down South to Brooklyn. Now, they’ve revamped their 1 and 5 positions, swapping in Kemba Walker and, typically Enes Kanter, but a parade of backup centers are filling in for the injured Kanter. Boston’s been off since last Saturday when they knocked off the New York Knicks 118-95. Kemba’s been their standout scorer, averaging 22 per game thus far, but Boston’s interchangeable wings should provide a stout challenge for a Milwaukee defense that’s struggled to regain last year’s luster thus far. Kanter will be out and Daniel Theis is questionable.
#NEBHInjuryReport Enes Kanter (knee) will not play tomorrow vs. Milwaukee, per Brad Stevens. Daniel Theis (ankle) went through most of practice and is questionable to play.— Boston Celtics (@celtics) October 29, 2019
Player to Watch: Robert Williams III
Williams III, or Time Lord as he’s commonly known online, will have a tall task working as Boston’s stopper at the rim against Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez. Boston’s frontcourt in general is lacking sufficient rim defenders, but a shorthanded group has their hands full. Here’s hoping Williams can fill the Aron Baynes role as Giannis’ favorite target to decimate at the tin.