The Boston Celtics (21-22) will be in Milwaukee to take on the Bucks (28-14) as they try to shake off their 132-126 overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Boston is expected to make some moves in anticipation of Thursday’s trade deadline, so the roster could look very different by the time this game ends. Danny Ainge will likely be on the phone from tip to finish.
Boston was without Jayson Tatum against Memphis. They were never going to win a game with Jeff Teague (26 points) as the No. 2 option. The Celtics could not stop Ja Morant (29 points) or Jonas Valanciunas (16 points, 19 rebounds) all night.
It’s shocking that Boston is under .500 after the halfway point in the year. They didn’t improve the roster in the offseason, and they have paid the price for it.
Milwaukee was also without their best player the last time they took the court. The difference is that they hung 140 points on the Pacers, absolutely dominating from start to finish.
Jrue Holiday has his best game as a Buck (28 points, five rebounds, 14 assists, two steals, one block), and Khris Middleton looked every bit of the star that we know him to be as the #2 option.
The Bucks, who are expected to get Giannis Antetokounmpo back, are a -4.5 favorite. The over/under is set at 230.5 points. Tip-off is at 7:30 P.M. Eastern on ESPN.
Celtics Seek Road Win
Bettors everywhere but Boston will be choosing the Bucks to win this contest. The team has been struggling throughout the year, and the constant lineup shuffling has made it even tougher to get in rhythm. Robert Williams III has been a stabilizing force off the bench for long stretches, but his play hasn’t translated into many wins. Centers don’t usually win you games in the modern NBA, save for a few.
Tatum and Jaylen Brown can score all they want, but if the team’s defense continues to struggle, they won’t beat anybody. Considering that they have been to three out of the past four conference finals, the team is clearly lacking something this year. If they can manage to land a guy like Aaron Gordon from Orlando, that would be a step in the right direction.
One thing is clear: with losses in five of their last seven games, the current trend isn’t good enough.
Bucks Seeking Home Win
After a slow-ish start to the year, the Bucks have turned it around in a big way. They have won 13 of their last 14, and they are in the mix at the top of the East with the Nets and 76ers. They need to avoid Brooklyn for the first two rounds, meaning they will need to either play their way into one of the top two spots in the Conference.
Milwaukee is likely to make it to round two for a third consecutive year, but from there, the matchup will become thrice more difficult.
Assuming Giannis is playing, he, Holiday, and Middleton should be able to put up big numbers against the struggling Celtics.
The Pick is In
Milwaukee is 17-5 at home this season. Against the struggling Celtics, I don’t see that changing. Roll with the Bucks Wednesday night.
FREE PLAY: Milwaukee Bucks (-4.5)
OVER/UNDER: OVER 230.5
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