clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Celtics Look to Keep Bucks Reeling

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


TV: Comcast SportsNet; Radio: 850 AM WEEI

Venue: TD Garden

The Boston Celtics aim to prolong their seven-game winning streak when they host the Milwaukee Bucks tonight at 7:30pm at the TD Garden.

The Celtics enter tonight's action fresh off a sweep of their most recent four-game road trip, which culminated in impressive back-to-back wins over the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Boston improved its league-leading road record to 9-1 with the four consecutive wins away from Boston.

The C's shouldn't get too comfortable in the Garden tonight though, as they head right back out after tonight's contest for another three-game road swing with stops in Washington, Chicago and Memphis scheduled.

The Celtics will be without backup guard/forward Marquis Daniels, who aggravated an existing wrist injury in practice over the weekend. On the bright side, according to reports, guard Tony Allen should be available for the first time this season, as he finally appears recovered from offseason ankle surgery.

The Bucks, who currently sit sixth in the Eastern Conference came on strong early, winning five of their first seven games, but are just 1-7 in their past eight games and are currently suffering through a three-game losing streak. The talk of Milwaukee of course centers on rookie standout Brandon Jennings, who has truly taken the NBA by storm in his inaugural season. Jennings is currently posting averages of 21.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 5.8 assists and is admirably filling the void left by Michael Redd's absence due to a knee injury. His 55-point outburst against the Warriors back on November 14 exemplified his scoring prowess, but even more impressively, he was following up on a 32-point performance against the Nuggets the game before, which shows hints of high-end consistency.

While Rajon Rondo's matchup with Jennings will more than likely highlight this one, keep an eye on Kendrick Perkins' battle with Andrew Bogut down low. Bogut is nearly averaging a double-double on the season (14.6 points, 9.1 rebounds) so Perk should have his hands full on the boards throughout the course of the game.

And if you're interested in a sleeper matchup, watch Paul Pierce go up against Luc Mbah a Moute (can't wait to hear Mike and Tommy tackle that one tonight). Mbah a Moute might not be much of a scorer yet (5.2 points per game on the season), but he's an above average defender who has given Pierce trouble in the past.

With all of that in mind, perhaps this is Ray Allen's night to visibly exploit his matchup with Carlos Delfino.

Projected Starters:

Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Bucks: Brandon Jennings, Carlos Delfino, Ersan Ilyasova, Luc Mbah a Moute, Andrew Bogut

Health Check: For the Celtics, forward Glen Davis (thumb) and guard/forward Marquis Daniels (hand/wrist) are both out.

For the Bucks, guard Michael Redd (knee) and forward Joe Alexander (hamstring) are both out.

Keep It In Mind: Brandon Jennings has shot less than 50 percent from the field in every Bucks loss this season.

Who's Hot: For the Celtics, Kevin Garnett has made 41 of his last 52 shots (78.8 percent).

For the Bucks, Jennings scored 24 in the Bucks' loss in Cleveland on Sunday.

Who's Not: For the Celtics, Ray Allen was just 4-11 against Oklahoma City last Friday and finished with 11 points.

For the Bucks, Andrew Bogut shot just 3-11 and finished with only seven points against the Cavaliers on Sunday.

Key Matchup: Rajon Rondo vs. Brandon Jennings

Honorable Mention: Kendrick Perkins vs. Andrew Bogut and Ray Allen vs. Carlos Delfino

Skinny: During the Celtics' four-game road swing, opponents averaged just 20.5 points in the first quarter, which was pivotal to Boston' success. That attention to defensive detail would serve dividends tonight, especially on the part of Rondo, who would do well to disrupt Jennings early and keep him out of rhythm throughout the game. Jennings will take a lot of shots (19.1 field goal attempts per game this season for the rookie), but as mentioned before, his shooting percentage in losses is rather abysmal, so keeping him out of an offensive groove should bea point of emphasis.

Boston could have its hands full on the boards, as Milwaukee enters tonight's game fifth in the league in total team rebounds, while Boston is still ranked 29th. Perkins, Garnett, Shelden Williams and Rasheed Wallace need to be on their rebounding games in order to limit extra Milwaukee possessions and easy transition baskets.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Celtics Blog Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Boston Celtics news from Celtics Blog