This Sunday, the Milwaukee Bucks (22-10) travel to Boston, MA to face the (23-10) Boston Celtics. Tipoff will be 5:00 PM EST inside TD Garden. This will be the first time these two teams meet this season as I expect a battle on Christmas Day.
The Milwaukee Bucks come into this game after falling to the Brooklyn Nets 118-110 on Friday. Milwaukee struggled on the defensive end of the court as they allowed the Nets to shoot 49.5% from the floor. They will have to make more shots in this game if they want to challenge the Celtics on the road.
The Boston Celtics enter this matchup coming off a 121-109 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday. Boston looked great on both ends of the floor as they will have to stay efficient in this one if they want to take care of business at home.
Can the Bucks bounce back on Christmas Day?
The Milwaukee Bucks currently sit in second place in the Eastern Conference standings, as they trail the first place Celtics by 0.5 games. Offensively, they are scoring 112.5 points per game and shooting 46.1% from the floor. This is the 17th most points scored in a single contest and the 22nd highest team field goal percentage. According to dunksandthrees.com, the Bucks have an adjusted offensive efficiency rating of 112.2, the 15th highest in the NBA. Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to lead the way on the offensive end of the floor as he averages 31.6 points per game on 53.7% shooting from the field. Milwaukee has also shown to be much more successful attacking the basket. They shot just 35% from deep, the 17th-highest three-point percentage. Milwaukee also continues to give up points on the court. They are shooting just 74% from the charity stripe, the 27th highest free throw percentage in the league.
On the defensive end of the court, the Milwaukee Bucks are giving up 109.2 points and have forced their opponents to shoot 45.1 percent from the floor. That’s the fifth-fewest points allowed per game and the second-lowest shooting percentage allowed. According to dunksandthrees.com, the Bucks have a defensive rating of 109.1, the second-lowest rating in the NBA. Milwaukee also continued to make shots near and outside the rim. They are holding opponents to 35% shooting, the 9th lowest three-point shooting percentage. The Bucks continued to break the offensive and defensive glass as well. They average 48.3 rebounds per game, which is second. They can’t let the Celtics score second-chance points if they want to stay in this game.
Injury report. Khris Middleton SF (knee) is questionable.
Are the Celtics getting hot again?
The Boston Celtics remain atop the Eastern Conference standings as they hold a 0.5 game lead over the second place Bucks. Offensively, they are scoring 118.1 points per game and shooting 47.6% from the floor. That’s second in points scored per contest and 12th in team shooting percentage. According to dunksandthrees.com, the Celtics have an adjusted offensive rating of 117.3, the highest rating in the NBA. Jayson Tatum continues to lead the way on the offensive end of the court, scoring 30.6 points per game on 47.2% shooting from the field. Boston has also shown they have multiple players who can drift behind the arc and make it rain. They are shooting 37.6% from deep, the sixth-highest three-point percentage in the league. The Boston Celtics also need to stay hot on the charity stripe. They have made 82.8% of their free throws this season, the highest percentage in the NBA. They can’t miss these free looks at the basket and still expect to win these games.
On the defensive end of the court, the Celtics are allowing 112.2 points and have forced their opponents to shoot 46.6% from the floor. That’s the 13th-lowest points per game and the 13th-lowest shooting percentage. According to dunksandthrees.com, the Celtics have an adjusted defensive rating of 111.6, which is the eighth lowest in the NBA. Boston has also shown that it will take shots near the rim and on the perimeter. They are allowing their opponents to shoot 35.1% from behind the arc, the 10th lowest three-point shooting percentage in the league. The Boston Celtics must continue to break the glass offensively and defensively as well. They are averaging 43.8 rebounds per game, which is 11th most.
Injury report. Robert Williams III C (Disease) is questionable.
Best bets for this match
Full game side bet
The status of insiders.
I’m going to take the Celtics and I’m going to take the points (-4.5) at home. They score the second most points per game, and they continue to score from anywhere on the floor. They will attack the basket and make it rain from deep as I don’t see the Bucks being able to slow them down. I also don’t see the Bucks being able to put up enough points to cover this spread. According to dunksandthrees.com, the Bucks have the 15th-highest adjusted offensive rating and they’re only allowing the 17th-most points per game. Boston will be on both ends of the court and have consistent stops throughout this game. This will cause the easy points to go the other way as the Celtics prepare to slowly drift away on Christmas Day. Boston is better on defense than most people think, and Tatum and Brown want to get in front of the whole country. The Boston Celtics will dominate on both ends of the court and take care of business at home.
Pick the Celtics and put the points at (-4.5).
Prediction: Boston Celtics -4.5
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Overall selection of the full game
The status of insiders.
I’m going to score low (225.5) on this game because I don’t see either of these teams scoring enough points to surpass this total. The Milwaukee Bucks are one of the best defensive teams in the league as I see them making it difficult for the Celtics to score consistently in this game. They will pressure near the rim and outside as the Celtics will struggle to find open shots. I also see both of these teams slowing the ball down and limiting the amount of shots they take from the floor. According to dunksandthrees.com, they have the 14th and 15th highest adjusted pace ratings because they won’t throw the ball in this game. It will be an average pace and both of these teams are good enough defensively to keep this total under the numbers. Boston has the ninth-lowest adjusted defensive rating and the Bucks the second-lowest. These are the two best defensive teams in the NBA as I see this being a battle all the way down. The underdog is also 4-1 in the last five meetings between these two teams in Boston. I’m going to trust this one to history.
Pick under (225.5) and expect a defensive battle.
Forecast: Below 225.5