After last night's tough loss at home against the new-look Denver Nuggets, the C's will look to redeem themselves tonight on the road in Milwaukee against the banged up Bucks. Starters Michael Redd and Charlie Villanueva are questionable for tonight's game; Redd has missed the past six games with a sprained right ankle, while Villanueva was sidelined for last night's victory against the Grizzlies due to a strained hamstring.
Speaking of last night's win, the Bucks grinded out a 101-96 overtime victory in Memphis behind a 26-point, 10-rebound effort from Richard Jefferson. The 6'7'' wing has held put up 21.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game since Redd's absence (6 games), in which he has helped Milwaukee maintain their .500 record.
Perhaps the main reason why Milwaukee has somewhat surprised thus far is their revamped defensive mentality. Thanks to the tough-minded, no-nonsense presence of new head coach Scott Skiles, the Bucks have come out with high intensity each and every night, which is far more than you could have said about this team a year ago.
Along with that defensive aggression has come a stronger emphasis on the boards, where the Bucks are among the top rebounding teams in the league at 44.4 RPG. Heck, the starting front line of Andrew Bogut, Richard Jefferson, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (say that out loud - it's fun) combined for 42 'bounds alone.
The Celtics are a far superior team, but this group will not lay down quite as easily as the previous Buck teams that we've battled with for lottery balls. Our beloved C's need to make sure they don't take Milwaukee lightly. We don't want to relive two Saturdays ago, do we?
PG SG SF PF C
PPG: Paul Pierce (20.3)
RPG: Kevin Garnett (10.1)
APG: Rajon Rondo (6.7)
SPG: Rajon Rondo (2.1)
BPG: Kendrick Perkins (2.1)
Celtics X-Factor: Attack With the Ball, Not the Dribble
Last night, the C's scored just 20 points in the paint and relegated themselves to taking multiple contested, forced shots on account of their mindset to overdribble and keep ball movement to a minimum. That needs to stop. That's not the team that we all know and love, and that's not the team that raised banner 17.
There are times where this team puts on an absolute clinic of what teamwork is supposed to be, while other times, they'll ruin any chance of developing an offensive flow with one-on-one isolation sets. Milwaukee is not the world's greatest defensive team; let's get back into our old habits.
PG SG SF PF C
PPG: Michael Redd (21.3)
RPG: Andrew Bogut (10.5)
APG: Luke Ridnour (5.6)
SPG: Andrew Bogut (1.1)
BPG: Andrew Bogut (1.2)
Bucks X-Factor: Fatigue
Not only are the Bucks on the second night of a back-to-back, but they are on the second night of a back-to-back road stand in which they began with an overtime victory. It's bad enough that they had to travel from Memphis to Boston in one night, but adding an overtime period to the mix will only affect the fatigue aspect of things more than usual.
Those are tough factors to face, especially when you've got the status of two starters in question.
|2008 - Richard Jefferson||19.2||6.1||3.1|
|2008 - Paul Pierce||20.3||7.4||3.7|
Michael Redd (sprained right ankle - doubtful)
Charlie Villanueva (strained right hamstring - game time decision)
Keys to Victory
- Ball Movement
- Ball Control