NBA Betting Preview – Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks

By  Jonathan Willis

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

NBA Betting Preview – Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks

Life without Giannis Antetokuonmpo has not been easy for Milwaukee. The Bucks have lost three straight games without the reigning NBA MVP, and they were blasted by Phoenix and Denver in the last two games of their road trip. The Suns dropped 47 points on the Bucks in the first quarter in a 140-131 victory, and the Nuggets used a 39-point first quarter to upend Milwaukee on Monday night. The Greek Freak is scheduled to return to the lineup on Wednesday night when Milwaukee hosts the Boston Celtics, and it’s not a moment to soon.

This game will take place at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on March 12, 2020, and the game will be broadcast on TNT.

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Head-To-Head Results to Date

Boston and Milwaukee have split their two previous meetings this season. The Celtics toppled the Bucks 116-105 in TD Garden in late October behind 32 points from Kemba Walker. Boston’s starters were the difference makers in the victory, combining to score 108 points, and every starter other than Walker hit at least 40 percent from the floor. Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 26 points on 10 of 15 shooting.

Antetokuonmpo shined in the rematch in this very arena back in January, notching a double-double in a 128-123 victory for Milwaukee. The favorite to win the MVP award this season per the NBA futures odds went 11-22 from the floor to lead the Bucks with 32 points, and he also pulled down 17 rebounds and dished out seven assists. Walker did what he could in the defeat, making 14 of his 23 field goal attempts to lead all scorers with 40 points.

Injury Report

Antetokuonmpo sprained his left knee in Milwaukee’s loss to the Lakers on Friday night, and he underwent an MRI to ensure that was the extent of the injury. The results of the MRI revealed that there was only a minor injury, so he is currently expected to suit up against Boston on Thursday night. It might be tough for the Bucks to find a distributor, as George Hill and Eric Bledsoe are both game time decisions wither lower body injuries.

Jaylen Brown is considered questionable to play in this game due to a hamstring injury, while Robert Williams is a game-time decision due to a back issue. Kemba Walker’s knee is clearly bothering him too, as he is shooting just 31.9 percent from the floor after missing two weeks.

Matchup to Watch

Boston is one of the top defending teams in the league. The Celtics have the second-best perimeter defense in the NBA, allowing opponents to make just 34.1 percent of their threes, and they rank fifth in opponents’ effective field goal percentage. They allow an NBA low 106.8 PPG, while the Bucks have the top offense in the league. Milwaukee’s 55.4 effective field goal percentage is far and away the best in the league, and they are beating opponents by an average of 11.7 PPG.

Game Preview

The combination of Antetokuonmpo and Middleton has been devastating this season. Antetokuonmpo can do it all, and he is averaging 29.6 PPG and 13.7 RPG, while Middleton is greatly benefiting from the open looks he is receiving from beyond the arc. He is averaging 21.1 PPG, knocking down 41.8 percent of his threes and nearly half of his field goals. George Hill is benefitting too, sinking 48 percent of his threes, so it is key for Boston to contain Giannis as much as they can at the point of attack.

Prediction

If Antetokuonmpo takes the court, expect the Bucks to pick up the victory. Milwaukee is 28-3 at home this season, while Boston is 5-5 in its last ten games.

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