Milwaukee Bucks (37-38) at Boston Celtics (34-41)
Friday, April 3, 2015
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #76 – Home Game #39
TV: CSN-NE, FSN-WI, NBA-LP 755(DTV)/753(Xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, WTMJ AM 620
Referees: David Jones, Lauren Holtcamp, Mark Lindsay
The Celtics continue their playoff push as they host the Milwaukee Bucks. This is the second of 3 meetings between these two teams this season. The Bucks won the first meeting in February 96-93. The third and last game will be on April 15.
The Bucks currently occupy the 6th seed in the East, 3 games ahead of the Celtics and 2.5 games ahead of both Miami and Brooklyn. The Celtics are 1/2 game behind the Nets and Heat for the 7th and 8th spots. Charlotte is 1.5 games behind the Celtics. For those keeping an eye on these teams, Charlotte is at Indiana and Toronto is at Brooklyn.
Both teams made moves at the trade deadline and so both have changed somewhat since that first meeting in February. Michael Carter_Williams has replaced Brandon Knight as the starting point guard. The Celtics also had a healthy Jared Sullinger in that game and didn't have Isaiah Thomas, Jonas Jerebko and Gigi Datome as sparkplugs off the bench. They also didn't have Kelly Olynyk, who was out with the ankle injury.
Celtics fans got a big surprise today with the announcement that Jared Sullinger's stress fracture in his foot is completely healed and that he will be available to play tonight. He is expected to come off the bench and play a limited number of minutes, but his presence in the rotation should give the team a boost.
The Bucks are winless in their last 11 road games and are 6-12 since Carter-Williams was added to the starting lineup. Evan Turner and Carter-Williams were teammates on the Sixers for the first part of last year. The Bucks have won the last 3 games between these two teams. This will be the first game back in Boston for former Celtic Jerryd Bayless, who signed with the Bucks as a free agent this off season.
PG SG SF PF C
Marcus Smart...Avery Bradley...Evan Turner...Brandon Bass...Tyler Zeller
Jared Sullinger (foot) Probable
Kelly Olynyk (eye) probable
PG SG SF PF C
Michael Carter-Williams...Khris Middleton...Giannis Antetokounmpo...Ersan Ilyasova...Zaza Pachulia
Damon Inglis (ankle) out
Jabari Parker (knee) out
Marcus Smart vs Michael Carter-Williams
Carter-Williams is averaging 14.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 6.7 assists for the season. He has had 3 triple doubles this season, but all before the trade to Milwaukee. He is coming off a game with 21 points and 10 rebounds in a win on Wednesday. At 6'6", the presents a matchup problem for many teams at the point. Evan Turner may guard him if Smart can't keep him in check.
Evan Turner vs Giannis Antetokounmpo
The Greek Freak, as Antetokounmpo is called, has been playing very well and will be a challenge for Evan Turner. He is averaging 12.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists and is tough to matchup with on both ends of the court. Turner needs to keep him in check as much as possible.
Avery Bradley vs Khris Middleton
There have been rumors that the Celtics may target Middleton as a free agent this off season. He is averaging 13.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.2 assists and has been playing very well this season. Hopefully he won't have a big game to audition for the Celtics.
Keys to the Game
Run and Move the Ball - The Celtics play so well when they run and keep up a fast pace throughout the game. When they slow it down, they get into trouble. The also have to move the ball and find the open man. When they start over dribbling and try to do too much individually, they struggle.
Take Care of the Ball - The Celtics at times get careless with the ball and turnovers can bury them. The Celtics have to take care of the ball and not give the Bucks easy points off turnovers.
Rebound - Rebounding is mostly effort and desire and the Celtics need to have both and they need to crash the boards as a team. They play best when the guards, along with the front line, go after every rebound.
Attack the Paint - At times the Celtics love the jumper and 3 point shots a bit too much. When they fall, it's great. But, when they don't fall, it can get ugly. The Celtics are playing in their 4th game in 6 nights and may not have the legs for jumpers at the end. If they aren't falling, they need to get into the paint and drive to the hoop. Also, the Bucks have defended the 3 quite well recently and in their win over the Bulls on Wednesday, they held the Bulls to 5 of 26 (19.2%) from beyond the arc. If the jumpers aren't falling, they need to get into the paint.
Be Aggressive - The Celtics need to be aggressive on defense, in going after loose balls and rebounds, and in driving to the hoop. They have to be the team that plays harder and wants the win more. They were the more aggressive team in their last 2 games and need to keep up that aggressiveness in this game.
Defense - Defense is always the key to winning. The Celtics have got to concentrate on getting stops and on defending the Bucks in the paint as well as on the perimeter. As Brad Stevens said, they need to have a defensive DNA and play tough team defense for 48 minutes.
Start Strong and Play 48 Minutes - The Celtics must get off to a good start and not dig a hole that they may or may not be able to climb out of. They have to start strong and then not let up until the final buzzer. They can't afford any let ups.
Motivation and Home
With the playoffs as motivation, the Celtics have to play with energy and effort. If they truly want to make the playoffs, they have to be the team that wants it more for the whole game. They are also at home and so need to feed off the energy of the crowd.
David Jones has officiated 1,494 regular season games and 67 playoff games throughout his 25 seasons as an NBA official. In addition, Jones officiated both the men’s and women’s 2000 Olympic Bronze Medal Games. Jones has eight years of collegiate officiating experience in the Southeastern, Trans-American Athletic, Metro and Sunshine State Conferences. In the past, he has been pretty good in calling the games. This season against the Magic, he was terrible. He called a flagrant 2 on Smart, which was later downgraded and then he called an even worst flagrant 1 on Isaiah Thomas. The officiating was one sided throughout the game with Orlando shooting 30 free throws to 16 for the Celtics. The Celtics are 3-3 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 games while the Bucks are 2-2 this season and 3-7 in their last 10 with Jones. He is a homer ref with a home W/L record so far this season of 35-21.
Lauren Holtkamp is entering her first season as a full-time NBA staff official having officiated nine regular season games. Holtkamp has six seasons of NBA D-League experience and worked the 2013 and 2014 NBA D-League Finals. She also officiated four seasons in the WNBA and worked the 2014 conference finals. Additionally, Holtkamp officiated in numerous college conferences, including the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten, Big 12, American, Big East, and the Colonial Athletic Conference. She also officiated various FIBA competitions, including the 2010 World University Games, and the 2012 and 2013 FIBA Americas Championships. The Celtics are 0-2 over her career with Holtcamp while the Bucks are 0-6 over her career in the NBA. Her home W/L record this season is 24-21.
Mark Lindsay has officiated 413 regular season games and one playoff game in his seven NBA seasons. Prior to working in the NBA, he worked for five seasons in the NBA Development League, officiating 116 games, including playoff games in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Lindsay received a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education and graduated with honors from West Chester University where he was a three year letterman on the Men’s Varsity Basketball team. He later worked as a teacher and a real estate sales agent and officiated in several college conferences, including the ACC, Colonial Athletic Association, Atlantic Sun, Big South and Ohio Valley Conferences before joining the NBA.
The Celtics are 1-4 this season and 2-8 in their last 10 games with Lindsay making the calls. One win last season was a 101-95 win over Chicago where the Bulls shot 31 free throws to 16 for the Celtics and there were more than a few questionable calls. But then, he called a game vs the Mavs where the Celtics shot 30 free throws to 17 for the Mavs and the Celtics got the benefit of a lot of calls. In several of the games the officiating was good but in a loss last season to the Cavs the officiating was terrible, with bad calls going both ways. Tommy had this to say, "I don't remember when there was such a plethora of terrible calls throughout." Lindsay also called the game vs the Bulls with Jason Phillips where the Celtics took 11 free throws to 40 for the Bulls and where Tommy described it as an abomination and not even close to a decently officiated game.
Lindsay (along with Tony Brothers), was terrible in the game this season vs the Lakers. The entire game, calls were going against the Celtics. Isaiah Thomas was ejected on a bogus call and that technical was recently rescinded. Smart and Zeller fouled out and the Lakers shot 38 free throws to 27 for the Celtics. Even the Laker fans were complaining because the refs were giving them all the calls and helping them. One comment from the Lakers board says it all: "The refs are screwing our tank." He can be good and he can be very, very bad depending on the night. The Bucks are 2-2 this season and 6-4 in in their last 10 with Lindsay. His home W/L record this season is 33-27.
The Celtics welcome back Jared Sullinger in yet another must win game against the sixth seeded Milwaukee Bucks.