Watch It! – Bucks at Celtics

Here are five things to watch out for when the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks meet at 7:30 p.m. tonight at TD Garden.

Celts in the Midrange

Oftentimes when the Celtics log a win, it’s because they shot it well from the field. Such is evidenced by the fact that they shoot 45.4 percent from the field during their wins as opposed to 41.7 percent from the field during their losses.

Against the Bucks, however, there’s one particular area of the court that powers Boston to the winner’s circle: the midrange.

Boston has been outstanding in the midrange during three games against Milwaukee this season. The C’s have shot it at an above-average clip in six of the eight midrange areas of the court, at 65.2 percent, per NBA.com/stats. Their hottest locations on the court have been inside the 3-point line in the left corner (4-for-4) and inside the 3-point line on the right wing (9-for-11).

The midrange game has helped Boston overcome its struggles from long distance against the Bucks. It has only made 26.8 percent of its long distance shots against Milwaukee this season.

Turner’s Return

Speaking of the midrange game, Evan Turner is unquestionably Boston’s top performer in that area of the court. Fortunately, he’s expected to be back in the lineup tonight.

Turner missed Wednesday’s win over the Pelicans with a left eye abrasion. He suffered the injury Sunday night in Los Angeles and could not open his eye for at least the next 24 hours. It appears that the injury has healed enough for him to play tonight, although he may need to wear some form of protection over his eyes.

The C’s will be happy to have him back, and for many different reasons, with his midrange game being one of them.

Eye, Eye, Celtics!

Turner isn’t the only Celtic who has suffered an injury to his orbital area. Marcus Smart took a shot Wednesday night as well.

Smart left the lineup late in the fourth quarter after suffering a laceration above his right eye. The cut required four stitches to be closed up, and the area was visibly swollen after the game.

Brad Stevens joked during his postgame press conference that Smart will not need to wear goggles as protection during tonight’s game, but two questions still linger for both he and Turner. First, will their vision be affected by their injuries? Second, how will their vision impact their ability to see the floor and gauge distance on their shots?

This is certainly something to watch out for tonight. If Turner and/or Smart turn the ball over at a high rate, or if they shoot it poorly from the field, we have a pretty good idea as to why.

Will It Ever End?

Life hasn’t been too enjoyable for the Bucks as of late, to say the very least. They have lost seven of their last nine games while playing quite possibly the most difficult schedule in the NBA.

All seven of those defeats came at the hands of teams that are either guaranteed to make the Playoffs this season or teams that are still battling for one of the final spots. In other words, the Bucks have been playing against a ton of good teams.

The only two wins Milwaukee has logged during their last nine games have come against the Suns and the Magic, who have combined to win only 54 games this season, which is only eight more than the C’s have logged on their own.

Two Bucks on the Up-and-Up

Two Bucks have been ascending over the past five weeks despite their team’s struggles. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker look like stars in the making.

Antetokounmpo, in particular, has been fantastic of late. His numbers have been getting better and better over the past five months, thanks in large part to Jason Kidd’s decision to run the offense through him as a point-forward. The lanky big man averaged 18.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game during March, and those numbers have risen to 24.7 points, 10.0 rebounds and 9.2 assists per game during three April contests.

Parker, too, has been improving with every month of the season. His numbers have been on a steady month-by-month incline, culminating with averages of 23.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game during April.

Milwaukee’s record shouldn’t scare anyone. However, there is no doubt that this team has a ton of talent, with Antetokounmpo and Parker at the forefront.

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