The defending champion Milwaukee Bucks travel to the TD Garden for a road matchup with the Boston Celtics in a much anticipated Eastern Conference battle on Friday night. The Bucks (6-6) are off to an injury-riddled start to the year but are coming off an impressive 112-100 road win against the New York Knicks on Wednesday. The Celtics (5-6) have had a rocky start, but will try and get back to the .500 mark with a second straight home win. Milwaukee opens this game as slight road favorites.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics Betting Odds and Lines
All betting lines are taken from BetUS.
Point Spread: Milwaukee Bucks -2
Total: Over/Under 211.5
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics Injury Report
The Bucks have dealt with a tirade of injuries through the first two weeks of the season. Dante Divencenzo remains out with an ankle injury, in addition to Khris Middleton (COVID-19). To make matters worse, Giannis Antetokounmpo is questionable with an ankle injury, but he is expected to suit up for this game. Brook Lopez (back) is expected to be out until at least Nov.14th.
Jaylen Brown missed his second consecutive game with a sore hamstring and is expected to be out until Nov.19th. 1st-year guard Brodric Thomas is questionable with a shoulder injury.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics Preview
Tatum and Celtics Avenge Opening Night Loss
On Wednesday, Boston righted a wrong with a 104-88 home win against the Raptors after being blown out by Toronto in a 32-point defeat in the Celtics’ home opener. Jayson Tatum led the charge with 22 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists while Dennis Schroder added 20 points for Boston, which had six players score in double figures. The win was the Celtics’ first at home in four tries this season as they try and climb back to the .500 mark after a troubling 2-5 start.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) November 11, 2021
The Celtics are averaging 108.3 points per game, good for 15th in the NBA. They’ve been struggling from beyond the arc (33.3%) but those numbers should trend up considering the talent in their backcourt. The troubling stat is Boston’s inability to shut down opposing teams at home. The C’s sit dead last in the NBA, allowing visiting teams to shoot a staggering 48% from the floor in addition to an 86% clip at the line. Expect those numbers to improve as Jaylen Brown comes off the COVID-19 list next week.
Bucks Trotting Through Injury Woes
The Bucks came away with a gritty road victory against a tough New York Knicks team on Wednesday night. Jrue Holiday scored 18 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo had 15 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists for the Bucks, who had just enough to win for the second straight night. They won at Philadelphia on Tuesday and looked springy in the second game of a back-to-back. They were without Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez but had enough juice on the bench to compensate for the missing starters.
Giannis the Playmaker.
15 PTS | 15 REB | 8 AST | 2 BLK pic.twitter.com/hkScKkO7bO
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) November 11, 2021
The Bucks’ defensive philosophy has allowed them to play at the same intensity, albeit without many of their core players. Pat Connaughton has averaged 10.9 points and 5 dimes in fill-in roles for both Middleton and Holiday. Milwaukee will undoubtedly coast on their way to a playoff berth, but health remains their primary concern this early in the year.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics Prediction and Pick
Boston and Milwaukee met three times one season ago, with the Celtics winning twice. Budding superstar Jayson Tatum averaged 27.3 points over the three games while Antetokounmpo averaged 21.3 in the season series. Milwaukee has won back-to-back games after dropping five of its prior six games. Giannis recorded his eighth double-double of the young season despite matching his season-low with 15 points against New York. Expect the Greek Freak to respond with another full line against a Boston frontcourt ranked 24th in rebounding percentage through 11 games. Just like the Celtics, Milwaukee has played inspired basketball away from their home building. The Bucks are 5-1 against the spread in their last six road games, and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games facing Eastern Conference opponents. Take the Bucks to win and cover here.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics Totals Bet
The Bucks are tenth in the NBA in pace through the first week of the year. That stat is a tad misleading, as they’ve been without their workhorse point guard Jrue Holiday for the majority of their games. Without their second superstar in Khris Middleton and starting center Brook Lopez, expect Holiday to push the pace as the Bucks play small-ball with Giannis at the five. These teams typically play high-scoring games, with the total number going over in five consecutive matchups. Further, the total number has gone over in 15 of 20 matchups at TD Garden between the two East rivals. Take this game to go well over the projected number.