Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks
Two of the Eastern Conference elite will go at it Thursday night with the 3rd seeded Boston Celtics heading to Milwaukee to face the number 1 seed, Milwaukee Bucks. The Celtics are coming off a loss after not being able to extend their win streak to 3 against the Pistons Tuesday night. The Bucks, on the other hand, have been one of the hottest teams in basketball and show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Boston leads the season series 1-0.
Time: 7 PM CST
Arena: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
Celtics: Jayson Tatum (Probable), Daniel Theis (Questionable), Robert Williams (Out)
Bucks: Frank Mason (Doubtful)
Boston Celtics Starting Lineup
Following their longest losing streak of the season (3 games), the Celtics righted the ship, picking up wins against the Pelicans and Bulls but couldn’t continue that winning streak on Thursday. Boston lost 116-103 to an injury-riddled and underperforming Pistons team on their homecourt. Boston was without star forward Jayson Tatum who is probable to return on Wednesday against the Bucks. They have struggled so far in January going a surprising 5-4 up to this point.
The Celtics were outscored by Detroit 59-44 in the second half in a clearly frustrating game that culminated with a Marcus Smart ejection. Boston got a large portion of their scoring from Walker, Brown, and Hayward who put up 19, 24, and 25 points respectively. The problem was that no other Celtic scored double-digit points and the Cs went 9-28 from behind the arc.
Tatum should provide them a huge boost coming back off of his one-game absence but it’ll be interesting to see if they can halt Milwaukee’s momentum. One thing that could benefit Boston is getting more minutes to Enes Kanter. Kanter can be detrimental at the defensive end at times but he was playing great basketball as of late while getting increased minutes, including a few starts, but was subjected to only 16 minutes on Tuesday behind a banged-up Theis.
Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineup
Milwaukee is looking to keep their dominant season going and are seeing the Celtics at a good time in the year. The Bucks are currently enjoying a 4-game win streak and haven’t lost back-to-back games all season. On top of being healthy and confident the Bucks will also be playing at home at the Fiserv Forum where they have gone 19-2.
The Bucks displayed their dominance over the lowly Knicks on Tuesday night. Milwaukee was able to pull away early thanks to a 36-17 2nd quarter performance. Giannis was in MVP form putting up 37 points to go along with 9 rebounds in just a minimal 21 minutes. Giannis did this efficiently going 12-17 from the field, 3-5 from 3, and 10-12 from the charity stripe.
The Bucks will get a much tougher test on Thursday against one of the few teams to beat them this year but are poised to continue their winning ways at home. Their high paced offense and elite defense will be put to test against what should be a full-strength Celtics squad. Giannis performance will be key as always along with how successful the Bucks are from deep with their high volume of 3-point attempts.
Key Player Matchups
Jayson Tatum vs Giannis Antetokounmpo
Tatum is expected to return from after missing their game Tuesday and he will have to face the toughest possible matchup with The Greek Freak. These two will be the focus of their respective offenses and should be matched up against one another on both sides of the ball (along with the expected usage of multiple defenders against Giannis).
Jaylen Brown vs Khris Middleton
There is also an interesting matchup on the wing between Brown and Middleton. Both players will most likely be matched up on both sides of the ball. Brown’s athleticism should give him the opportunity to slow Middleton down and hinder the fast-paced Bucks a little bit.
Giannis is poised to have another huge performance in what should be a competitive affair but is the most expensive play of the night. This isn’t really a game that dictates many value plays with two top defensive units going at it. One value type buy could be Donte DiVincenzo who is currently priced at $4,200 and should have the opportunity for a solid game.
Bet on Matchup
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