For the second straight season, all eyes are on the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks as they jockey for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. For the majority of the season, the Celtics have been in control of their own destiny, but since returning from the All-Star break, their haphazard performances have seen them lose their top spot, and now the battle to get it back is truly underway.
Tonight, the Celtics and Bucks will go head-to-head in what could be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics come into this game having succumbed to a shocking defeat at the hands of the Washington Wizards, while Milwaukee is on the second night of a back-to-back. As such, each team will have its own personal mountain to climb as they look to gain an advantage over the other.
The last time these two teams met, the Celtics rolled out a bench rotation that ran Milwaukee close, leading some fans to claim a mental victory over a team that is clearly among a small list of genuine contenders in the Eastern Conference.
On today’s episode of Green With Envy, Adam Taylor and Will Weir are joined by Ti Windisch of The Gyro Step podcast to preview the marquee match-up.
A key talking point during the conversation is that Brook Lopez’ defensive ability is heavily reliant on protecting the paint, and should the Celtics find a way to pull him onto the perimeter and put him in action, there will be a solid chance of coming away with a victory. However, as with every contending team, finding ways to exploit their weaknesses is easier said than done.
In previous seasons, the Bucks have been known to dare teams to shoot from deep, placing more of an onus on defending their rim, yet this year, Milwaukee is among the best defensive teams in the NBA, including on the perimeter. As such, the Celtics may be doing well to move away from their heavily perimeter-based offense and look to mix things up more, especially if they can create gaps around the rim to attack off the drive.
We try to cover as many primary talking points as possible so that you come into Thursday’s game feeling confident you have a handle on what to expect from Milwaukee and can feel confident about the Celtics' chances of getting back in the win column.