The Milwaukee Bucks are playing on Christmas once more, a rarity now become commonplace, and they have a chance to get revenge against the Boston Celtics in this showcase game at Fiserv Forum. Merry Christmas Brew Hoopers, and happy holidays to all not celebrating today. What gift could be better than a win…oh ya, Giannis Antetokounmpo returning.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has been cleared from health and safety protocols; he's expected to get on the court today and decide tomorrow whether to play on Christmas against the Boston Celtics, sources tell @wojespn and me.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) December 24, 2021
Where We’re At
The status of Giannis is the dominant storyline heading into the game, and it would be a nice full circle narrative for him to return from his COVID-19 absence to try and beat the team that bested him last time he was on the court, December 13. That was an ugly affair with Khris Middleton exiting the floor, but Milwaukee rattled off two straight victories to get some momentum back following a rough stretch. Khris Midddleton and Jrue Holiday drove the offensive engine against the Mavericks, and pushed the Bucks past Houston the night prior. It was the surprising emergence of Boogie Cousins against Dallas (22 points) that gave a boost that pushed them over the top too. Giannis and Bobby Portis returning would obviously fill most of the big man minutes, but the Bucks will need Boogie to fill some time against Boston.
The Celtics can be a confusing squad, but they’ve put up decent games of late beating Milwaukee, Cleveland, and playing the Warriors tough. Jaylen Brown had 34 points against the Cavaliers in their most recent 111-101 win, a promising sign after he made a strong return from injury against the Bucks two weeks ago. Like other teams, they’re also facing a roster churn though. They signed old man Joe Johnson to a 10-day contract, and are also getting Al Farouq-Aminu and Norman Pevelle. A couple ghosts of Christmas past right there. Boston needs the reinforcements though with eight players in COVID protocols, albeit few of them from their star player grouping. They include Enes Kanter Freedom, Al Hortord, Jabari Parker, Josh Richardson, Brodric Thomas, Grant Williams, Juancho Hernangomez and Sam Hauser. Marcus Smart is also questionable. This thread says it all…
#NEBHInjuryReport vs. Milwaukee (1/5):— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 24, 2021
Bruno Fernando (Health & Safety Protocols) - OUT
Enes Freedom (Health & Safety Protocols) - OUT
Sam Hauser (Health & Safety Protocols) - OUT
As for the Bucks, Donte DiVincenzo is questionable, but they’ll be without Brook Lopez as usual with his back injury.
It seems we will get the debut of Donte today…
Let’s hooooooop!— Donte DiVincenzo (@Divincenzo) December 25, 2021
Player to Watch
The obvious answer is Giannis if he plays, but I’m also somewhat interested to watch isolation Joe Johnson in action. Him returning to the Celtics is a fairly interesting storyline as far as they go on what could be a more bland Xmas day slate of games than usual. I’ve never been his biggest fan, but from playing in the big three tournament to playing Xmas day, why not put your peepers on him.
Fun fact, a few years ago I convinced my wife to bet $50 on the Bucks besting the 76ers during their Xmas day contest. Yada, yada, yada, the Bucks got smashed and she hasn’t exactly looked to me for betting advice since. Well, if you’re interested in laying some moolah down to spice up today’s festivities, check out the odds for the game and lay down some cash.
Game 35: Against Boston, the Bucks will....
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