Boston Celtics vs Milwaukee Bucks 12/25/21: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Live Stream

Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks Matchup Preview (12/25/21)

What a crazy year it has been so far for the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks. The Milwaukee Bucks started the 2021-22 season with a huge home win against the Brooklyn Nets, but shortly after, they lost several players to injuries and COVID. At one time, the Bucks had to rely solely on Giannis Antetokounmpo as their other key players were out. It has been an up and down season, but things are starting to look up for them as they are currently third in the Eastern Conference. Still, like many other teams, the Bucks have players in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, which could hurt them temporarily. The Celtics have a couple of frontcourt players in the health and safety protocols as well, like Al Horford and Grant Williams, but still have their best players available in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Without Giannis playing, I would have to give the slight edge to the Boston Celtics. Don’t rule out the Bucks, though, because we have recently seen Jrue Holiday get red-hot from the floor, and Khris Middleton is one of the best isolation scorers in the league today.

Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks Betting Odds

This game should be close, regardless of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s status on Saturday. If Giannis cannot play, I would lean towards the Boston Celtics stealing a win on the road. Jaylen Brown has had back-to-back 30-point games, and Jayson Tatum has averaged 28.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game in the past 11 games. If the Celtics can contain Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday and run the Bucks’ shooters off the three-point line, they should be able to secure a win.

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TV Schedule

Date: 12/25/21
Time: 2:30 PM ET
Arena: Fiserv Forum – Milwaukee, WI
Channel: ABC

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Boston Celtics Starting Lineup

PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Romeo Langford
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Robert Williams III

Boston Celtics Analysis

Jaylen Brown is finally back and has put up back-to-back 30-point games for this Celtics team. What is promising about the C’s is that they have generated offense and scored over 100 points in five straight games, which has consistently been an Achilles heel. Boston was a bottom-ten offense for a good portion of the season but has recently looked significantly better, mainly due to Brown’s return and Jayson Tatum’s terrific play. The bottom line for the Celtics is that they need to shoot the three-pointer better, as they currently rank merely 23rd in the NBA. The playoffs are still a possibility if they can make some adjustments before the All-Star break.

Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineup

PG: Jrue Holiday
SG: Pat Connaughton
SF: Jordan Nwora
PF: Khris Middleton
C: DeMarcus Cousins

Milwaukee Bucks Analysis

As a fan of the NBA, and good basketball, I feel for the Milwaukee Bucks. They have only had everyone healthy simultaneously for what has felt like just a few games. Now, they are missing Giannis Antetokounmpo to the health and safety protocols and still have not returned Brook Lopez from his lingering back injury that has kept him out the majority of the 2021-22 season. Even Donte DiVincenzo, who was expected to return last week from an ankle injury, was forced into the health and safety protocols. That is yet another tough break for the defending champions. Despite all of these disadvantages, the Bucks have still found a way to be third in the Eastern Conference. It will be difficult for Milwaukee to remain consistent every game until it gets everyone back, especially their two-time MVP.

Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks Daily Fantasy Picks

In the past two games, we have seen Jaylen Brown re-take center stage and assert his dominance on the offensive end of the floor. Brown finished the past two games with 34 points and 30 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers, respectively. Brown also positively impacted other areas of the game, bringing in 11 rebounds and dishing out seven assists in the past two games combined. These have been two of Brown’s four or five best games of the season, so you have to wonder if he has hit his groove. It is safe to say that the Celtics were not going to risk Brown re-injuring his hamstring for the third time, so he had to be 100% or as close to it as possible before he took the floor again. Any concerns about Brown and Tatum taking away shots from one another are silly: there are plenty of shots to go around. In this matchup, I believe that Brown has a slight advantage over who will guard him. Middleton is a solid, lanky perimeter defender who can move his feet quite well, and he will more than likely be guarding Tatum. Milwaukee is a bit thin on the perimeter right now, so Brown could have his way.

This DFS recommendation is mainly dependent on whether or not Giannis Antetokounmpo is available for Milwaukee Bucks on Christmas Day or not. If he has not yet cleared the league’s health and safety protocols, then he will not be able to play. We may not know until the day before or even the day of the game. If he does not play, then Jrue Holiday will shoulder a massive amount of responsibility on the offensive end of the floor. Holiday averages 17.3 points, 6.4 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game this season on 48% from the field and 35% from behind the arc. Recently, though, Holiday has been filling it up. Last game, Holiday dropped 40 points, five rebounds, and five assists in a tough overtime loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. The Bucks did not have Holiday for the second night of a back-to-back, but he is ready to go for the Christmas Day game. Holiday will be a crucial component of the Bucks’ potential success in this game, so if Giannis does not play, then you should give him the green light in your DFS lineups.

Drew is a lead NBA writer at Lineups.com where he has been covering in-season basketball coverage to the NBA Draft. He is a former collegiate player who now spends time diving into NBA prospects and evaluating the analytics of the NBA.

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