Boston Celtics vs Milwaukee Bucks Preview
The Bucks have been the most dominant team in the NBA this season as they lead the league in wins (53) and net rating (10.7). Milwaukee was dominating before the season stopped and they appeared to pick up where they left on during the scrimmages. The Bucks are 53-12 this season and lead the Toronto Raptors by 6.5 games in the East.
The Boston Celtics come into Friday’s showdown with a 43-21 record overall. The Celtics are third in the East and trail the Raptors by three games. Boston has the NBA’s fifth-best record as well as the fifth-best net rating.
The Bucks and Celtics split the first two meetings between the two this season.
Time: 6:30 PM ET
Arena: HP Field House, Orlando, FL
Bucks: Eric Bledsoe (O), Pat Connaughton (O), Frank Mason (GTD), Marvin Williams (GTD)
Boston Celtics Starting Lineup
Boston comes into Friday’s game mostly healthy with the lone exception being Kemba Walker. Walker is recovering from a knee injury and he is expected to play 18-20 minutes vs the Bucks according to NBC Sports Boston.
The Celtics were struggling at the time of the NBA’s stoppage as they had lost four of their last six. Boston was missing Walker at the time so the Celtics are taking the seeding games cautiously so that he can be ready for the playoffs.
Boston is one of three teams in be in the top five of both offensive rating and defensive rating (other two being LA Clippers and Lakers). The Celtics rank fifth in offensive rating and fourth in defensive rating.
The matchup vs Milwaukee is a tough one as it pits the Celtics fifth-best offense vs the league’s top defense. Milwaukee also has the fourth-best offense in the NBA when you filter out garbage time (via Cleaning the Glass), so Boston’s defense will also be tested.
The Celtics have 2.5 game lead over the Miami Heat for the third seed in the East. Boston will need to keep it so that they avoid a potential matchup with Milwaukee in the second round of the playoffs.
Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineup
The Bucks enter the Orlando restart as the favorite in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks have dominated this season and after a four-month hiatus, they appeared to pick right where they left off during the scrimmage games.
The MVP front-runner Giannis Antetokounmpo showed no signs of rust during the scrimmage. He had 30 points and eight rebounds in only 23 minutes of play in the Bucks final scrimmage game.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has been dominant vs Boston this season. In Milwaukee’s win over the Celtics back in January he had 32 points, 17 rebounds, and 7 assists. In the Bucks loss to Boston back in October, he had 22 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 assists.
The key for the Bucks will be the battle in the paint. Milwaukee is the third-best team in shooting percentage at the rim and they are first in opponents shooting percentage at the rim (Cleaning the Glass). If the Bucks dominate down low then they should be able to start their season resumption off with a win.
Milwaukee leads the NBA in net rating, defensive rating, defensive rebound percentage, rebound percentage, and effective field goal percentage.
Bucks vs Celtics Fantasy Basketball Angle
When it comes to the daily fantasy you can always count on Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo to put up numbers. He is averaging 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 5.8 assists this season. He is the team leader in all three of those categories and with Eric Bledsoe out he could be responsible for even more of the offense. Given how dominant he looked during the scrimmage games expect Antetokounmpo to come out and put on a show as he looks to remind everyone why he is the MVP favorite as well as why the Bucks are the NBA’s top team.
Bucks vs Celtics Betting Odds
Bucks Odds: -225
Celtics Odds: +166
The Bucks are the favorites by 2.5 points but both teams have question marks entering Friday game. Milwaukee will be without starting point guard Eric Bledsoe as well as Pat Connaughton. Boston will have Kemba Walker back but they are being cautious with him and he is only expected to play 18-20 minutes. Given that both teams have issues at point guard and both teams feature top-five defenses it seems as if the under should be a smart bet. The two teams combined for 251 points and 221 in their two meetings earlier this season.
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