Preview: Celtics at Bucks
The Boston Celtics are quietly becoming one of the best teams in the league and will go for their 10th win in 11 games when they visit the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.
The Celtics went off for 128 points in a win over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday and are averaging 110.7 in the last 10 contests.
The Celtics have moved up into third place in the East with the recent run of strong play and are thinking about bigger goals. “We’re starting to get a little respect,” Boston All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas told reporters. “We just have to keep playing our game. Keep fighting, keep grinding it out, and hopefully it puts us in the best position possible when the playoffs start.”
The Bucks were supposed to be a team, like the Celtics, that took a big step forward this season but instead have dropped well out of postseason position and are enduring a five-game slide. Milwaukee handed the team over to its young players and is enduring the inconsistency that comes with youth, especially on the defensive end.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, CSN New England (Boston), FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
ABOUT THE CELTICS (31-22): Boston won at Cleveland on Avery Bradley’s buzzer-beater on Friday before winning the 128-119 race against the Kings on Sunday, but coach Brad Stevens thinks the team can get better. “I feel pretty good about the rhythm the guys are in,” Stevens told reporters. “I think we’ve got to continue to work hard to be a good team. If we don’t defend and we don’t share the ball, those are usually recipes for disaster for us. We’ve been able to do that pretty consistently over the last 10 games. But nobody is in there doing cartwheels.” The Celtics return home for the second night of a back-to-back against the Los Angeles Clippers before hitting the road for three in a row following the All-Star break.
ABOUT THE BUCKS (20-32): Three of Milwaukee’s last four losses have come by seven or fewer points, and the team is still learning how to execute at both ends at the end of games. “With a very young team you have to be patient,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd told reporters. “I think you have to go through it together. We’re watching video, walking through things, stopping and asking different questions so you can hear the answer, what they’re thinking.” Milwaukee held a 73-72 lead at Utah on Friday with 4:24 left before going the next four minutes without a field goal in the 84-81 setback.
1. Bradley is 11-of-17 from 3-point range in the last three games.
2. Bucks F Jabari Parker is averaging four points on 4-of-13 shooting in the last four games.
3. Boston won in its last two trips to Milwaukee, including a 99-83 triumph on Nov. 10.
PREDICTION: Celtics 108, Bucks 99