Milwaukee Bucks (38-36) at Boston Celtics (48-26)
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #75 – Home Game #37
TV: CSN-NE, FSN-WI, NBA-LP 753(DTV)/753(Xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, 105.7 FM
Referees: Sean Corbin, JT Orr, Leroy Richardson
The Celtics host the Milwaukee Bucks for the 2nd of 3 meetings this season. The Celtics won the first meeting in Milwaukee on January 28 without both Avery Bradley and Al Horford. They will meet one more time on April 12th in Boston.
The Bucks are playing in back to back games, winning 118-108 in Charlotte. The Bucks are 7-10 on the second night of back to back games. The Bucks have been playing very well, going 12-4 in the month of March. They are 7-3 in their last 10 games. The Bucks have now moved into 5th in the East, half a game in front of the Hawks.
The Celtics have won their last 3 games against the Bucks and 5 of the last 6. The Celtics are 8-2 in their lasts 10 games. The Celtics are 27-9 at home. They have won 7 straight and 14 of the last 15 at home. They have won 11 of the last 12 against playoff teams.
Jonas Jerebko left practice on Tuesday with a knee injury and is listed as questionable for this game. They will miss his versatile defense if he can't play. Avery Bradley still isn't 100% after a stomach bug but is expected to play. For the Bucks, Michael Beasley (knee), John Henson (thumb), and Jabari Parker (knee) are all expected to miss this game.
The Celtics have forged ahead of the Cavaliers by half a game to take sole possession of first place. Washington and Toronto keep winning and Washington is 2 games back while Toronto is 3 games back. Milwaukee has jumped half a game in front of Atlanta and is 10 games out of first place.
Games to Watch
3/29 Hawks at Sixers, Hornets at Raptors, Wizards at Clippers
3/30 Cavaliers at Bulls
PG SG SF
Isaiah Thomas...Avery Bradley...Jae Crowder...Amir Johnson...Al Horford
Jonas Jerebko (knee) questionable
Avery Bradley (illness) expected to play
PG SG SF
Malcolm Brogdon...Tony Snell...Khris Middleton...Giannis Antetokounmpo...Thon Maker
Michael Beasley (knee) out
John Henson (thumb) out
Jabari Parker (knee) out
Antetokounmpo, aka the Greek Freak, is like no other player in the league. He is 6'11" tall and very athletic. He is averaging 23.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 5.3 assists. He often brings the ball up the court and acts as they point guard as well. He will be a huge challenge on both ends of the court. In the first meeting, he finished with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists.
Jae Crowder vs Khris Middleton
Middleton is finally hitting his stride after being out with a ruptured hamstring earlier in the season. He is averaging 14.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. He is shooting 44.3% from beyond the arc and 46% from the field so if Jae leaves him open, he will more than likely have a big game.
Kelly Olynyk vs Greg Monroe
Monroe is a former starter coming off the bench and will be a challenge for Kelly (or Jonas or whoever) to guard. He is averaging 11.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists off the bench. In the first meeting between these two teams he finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Keys to the Game
Defense - Defense is always a key to winning. So far this season it seems as though the defense of the Celtics has been up and down. They are beginning to show their defensive mettle though as they head down the home stretch. They have had one of the best defenses in the league since the All Star break and they have the top rated defense in the 4th quarter. They must come out with a defensive mindset and make that their priority.
Run! - The Celtics are very effective when they run on every possession and run on defense as well. They need to run on offense to get easy shots before the defenses get set up. They also need to run on defense to get set up to prevent the Bucks from getting easy baskets. With the Bucks playing back to back, if the Celtics can have more energy to keep up the pace, they may be able to wear the Bucks out.
Take Care of the Ball - The Bucks are very long and athletic. The Celtics need to make careful passes and take care not to allow the Bucks to force turnovers. This also includes hitting their shots and making the extra pass to find the open man. In their 4 game winning streak, they have averaged 16.5 turnovers for 22.8 points. They have to tighten that up and take better care of the ball.
Rebound - The Celtics can't score if they don't have the ball. As was said, the Bucks are long and athletic and so the Celtics are going to have to work to win the battle of the boards. It takes effort to rebound and when the Celtics put out that extra effort to get rebounds, it usually translates to other areas of their game.
Be Aggressive - The Celtics have to be the more aggressive team from start to finish. They have to be aggressive in going after loose balls and on defense and going to the basket and grabbing rebounds. The more aggressive team usually gets the benefit of the calls also. They need to be the team that wants it more for all 48 minutes. No let up.
Fatigue vs Rest - The Celtics have been off since Sunday and so should be rested. The Bucks played in Charlotte and had to travel afterwards. Hopefully the Celtics can play with more energy and wear them out.
Focus and Motivation - With the Celtics in first place, it's hard to picture them losing focus in a very winnable game. The Bucks are fighting to stay in 5th place and so they are going to be motivated to stay there. The Celtics need to draw energy from the home crowd and keep their focus on playing their game. There are no easy opponents and the Celtics need to play like it.
Officiating - The officiating is always an x-factor. Whether because of the tendencies of individual refs, or an agenda on behalf of the refs or the league, each game is officiated differently and that can favor or throw a team off on any given night. The Celtics have to be able to shake off bad calls and just play their game.