Watch It! – Celtics at Bucks

Here are five things to watch out for when the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks meet at 8 p.m. tonight at Bradley Center.

C’s Bringing Plenty of Hot Hands to Milwaukee

The Celtics ride into Milwaukee tonight as winners of nine of their last 10, and it’s no surprise that they’re doing so on the back of a number of hot hands.

Tyler Zeller has shot 14-of-18 from the field over the last two games, Jared Sullinger is coming off a 10-of-13 shooting performance against Sacramento, and Avery Bradley has made 11 of his 17 3-point attempts during the last three contests.

We haven’t even mentioned Isaiah Thomas yet, who on Monday was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week, after averaging 20.3 points, 6.0 assists and 4.5 rebounds during Boston’s four wins last week.

That’s a lot of hot players for Milwaukee to keep tabs on tonight.

No Luck for the Bucks

While the Celtics are peaking at their highest point thus far this season, Milwaukee is currently experiencing its lowest of lows.

The Bucks have lost a season-high five straight games and currently sit third-to-last in the East with a 20-32 record. Milwaukee has failed to reach 85 points on two occasions during its current spell, including an 84-81 loss during its most recent outing against the Jazz.

By comparison, Boston’s offense has failed to reach 85 points just twice this entire season, and has scored at least 100 points in 15 of its last 16 games.

Celts Have the Edge on the Boards

Despite having one of the longest teams in the league (every player in its starting lineup is at least 6-foot-6), Milwaukee is arguably the worst rebounding team in the league.

The Bucks have the lowest defensive rebounding rate in the NBA, as they corral boards on that end at just a 72.4 percent clip (meaning opponents grab a league-high 27.6 percent of available rebounds on the offensive end).

That’s good news for Boston, which excels on the offensive glass. It grabs 25.0 percent of available offensive boards, which is the ninth-best mark in the league. The C’s corralled 30.4 percent of available offensive rebounds during their only other meeting against Milwaukee – a 99-83 win on Nov. 10.

Bucks Stay Inside the Arc

No team in the Eastern Conference attempts fewer 3-pointers than Milwaukee, which chucks up just 15.7 treys per game. That’s because the Bucks only have two 3-point threats on the entire team: Khris Middleton and Jerryd Bayless. They are their only two players that have made more than 35 triples this season, and are also the only ones who have shot at least 35 percent from deep.

The Bucks instead do their offensive damage on the interior. They average 49.2 points in the paint per game, which is tied with Sacramento for the highest mark in the league. No other Eastern Conference team is even averaging 45 PITP per game.

Bradley Center is a Home Away from Home

There’s no question that Milwaukee is a team that thrives at home. The Bucks are 13-8 in Milwaukee this season – including wins in nine of their last 13 contests at home. On the road, they are 7-24 – only the Lakers have lost more road games.

Bradley Center is clearly a sanctuary for the Bucks, but the same can be said for the Celtics.

Boston has won seven of its last 10 games at Bradley Center, including its 99-83 win in November. That effort remains Milwaukee’s lowest offensive output at home this season.


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