Boston Celtics (2-2 SU, 3-1 ATS, 1-3 O/U) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (3-1 SU, 2-1-1 ATS, 3-1 O/U)
NBA: Thursday, October 26, 2017, BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 8 pm ET
Line: Milwaukee -4.5; Over/Under: 207
A pair of Eastern Conference foes do battle in the Midwest. The Boston Celtics are on the road to battle the Milwaukee Bucks Thursday night. Boston won their second straight as they bombed the Knicks 110-89 at home Tuesday night. Milwaukee won their second straight as they turned back the Hornets 103-94 at home Monday night. The Celtics hold a 106-101 advantage in the all-time series but the Bucks took a 108-100 win on the road in the first meeting this season back on October 18.
Boston Celtics Seek Third Straight Win
Boston has bounced back from their 0-2 start by winning back to back division games over the 76ers and Nets. The Celtics look for a third straight win and avenge last week’s home loss to the Bucks. Boston led 30-17 after the first quarter, extended their lead to 21 at the half and coasted the rest of the way to the win. The Celtics shot 49.3 percent from the floor in the game and knocked down 14 of 29 from three point range. Boston limited the Knicks to 42.4 percent from the floor and a dismal 1 of 12 from beyond the arc. Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 23 points in the win.
The Celtics are tied for 17th in the league in scoring offense with 102.8 points per game. Boston is tied for 9th in the league in rebounding with 46.3 boards per game and stand tied for 14th with 22.3 assists per contest. Boston is above average on the defensive end: they are 6th in scoring defense, allowing 97.8 points per game. Kyrie Irving leads the team with 20 points plus six assists and 2.25 steals per game. Al Horford averages 13 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. Marcus Smart chips in 12 points, eight rebounds and 3.5 assists per contest. Jaylen Brown (18.8 points, 5.8 rebounds), rookie Jayson Tatum (14.8 points, 7.8 boards), Terry Rozier and Aron Baynes are key pieces in the rotation. Boston will miss their big free agent signing, Gordon Hayward, who is likely done for the year after suffering a fracture dislocation of his ankle in the opener. They do hope to get Marcus Morris back in the near future. The Celtics are 22nd in field goal percentage as they shoot 43.5 percent from the floor as a team. Boston is tied for 11th in three pointers per game with 10.8 while the team is 10th in three point percentage as they hit 36.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Milwaukee Bucks Try to Build Off Hot Start
Milwaukee won their second straight as they dispatched the Hornets to improve to 3-1 on the young season. The Bucks are looking to beat the Celtics for the second time in just over a week here. Milwaukee trailed by seven after the opening quarter but chipped their way back into the game. The Bucks were down just one at the half and took control with a 30-23 edge in the third quarter. Milwaukee shot 47.1 percent from the floor and went 9 of 26 from beyond the arc in the contest. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 32 points, 14 rebounds and six assists in the win.
The Bucks are in the middle of the pack offensively, ranking tied for 14th in the league with 105.3 points a game. Milwaukee is below average on the boards as they are 30th with 38 rebounds per game. The Bucks are tied for 16th in assists as they dish out 22 per contest. Milwaukee is 14th in scoring defense as they allow 105 points per game. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the do-everything guy for Milwaukee: he leads the team with 36.3 points along with 10.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.25 steals per game. Malcolm Brogdon adds 16 points per contest, Khris Middleton adds 15.3 points plus 6.3 boards a night and Tony Snell chips in 11 points per game. Matthew Dellavedova, Greg Monroe, John Henson, Mirza Teletovic and Thon Maker are all going to have to contribute for the Bucks. Milwaukee is 3rd in the league in field goal percentage as the team shoots 48.9 percent from the floor. The Bucks are tied for 20th with 8.5 three point field goals per game and stand 17th as they shoot 34 percent from beyond the arc.
- Celtics are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points
- Celtics are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 road games
- Celtics are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game
- Bucks are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 home games
Boston has found its footing after a disastrous first couple games that saw them lose Hayward for the year. The Celtics are getting great production from young guys like Brown and Tatum, which has helped ease that sting. Milwaukee is thrilled with Antetokounmpo, who leads the league in scoring right now: he’s been a force in all four games this season. The Celtics have their legs as opposed to playing their second game in as many cities in as many nights like they did against Milwaukee last week. Look for the Celtics to avenge that loss and pick up a tough win here.
Pick: Boston Celtics +4.5
Boston has to be optimistic that their roster churn was worth it if Brown and Tatum, among others, continue to develop as they have early on this season. It also makes Danny Ainge look smart for passing on Markelle Fultz, who has struggled early on and has a shoulder issue going on at the moment. The Bucks are riding Antetokounmpo and hope that Jabari Parker will return from his second torn ACL stronger and motivated. There are other pieces in the Milwaukee offensive system but the Greek Freak is what makes that engine go.
The under is 5-0 in the Celtics’ last 5 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game, 5-1 in their last 6 games following a straight up win, 7-2-1 in their last 10 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600 and 6-2 in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. Milwaukee has seen the under 6-0 in their last 6 Thursday games, 19-6-1 in their last 26 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game and 9-3-1 in their last 13 against Atlantic Division foes. Given the solid defense by both teams of late, this one likely stays under the total.