Nashua, NH – The Boston Celtics will host the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden in Thursday night’s Eastern Conference match up, as tip-off kicks off at 7:30 PM. Bucks (24-33) young star Michael Carter-Williams (Hamilton,MA) has yet to lose a game in the commonwealth in his short impressive career thus far. The 6-6 point guard out of the University of Syracuse has been quite the surprise for the Bucks since the former first round pick was traded from Philadelphia during last seasons trade deadline. Carter-Williams has averaged 11.6 pts/g and 5.6 ast/g this season, in what has been a struggling season for Coach Jason Kidd and the rest of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Fortunately for the struggling Celtics (33-25), after losing two of their last three since the all star break to some pretty mediocre competition, the green will host its longest home stand in the past three seasons. The five game home stand begins with Milwaukee tonight, and luckily for the Celtics they have won eight straight at home, the longest streak since an 11-game run in 2012-13.
“I’m looking forward to it, we always want to take care of business at home and it’s going to be nice to be at home.” Celtics guard Avery Bradley says. “We just need to get wins and I’m confident that we can do that.”
Bucks head coach Jason Kidd has flopped the team’s starting lineup since things didn’t seem to be working out in the first half of the season. Bucks guard O.J Mayo along with forward Miles Plumlee have been moved into the starting lineup over Carter-Williams and heavy power forward Greg Monroe, and since then the Bucks have captured wins in four out of their last five games. Coach Kidd reacted to this success by stating that “since we made the change in our lineup, it just makes our bench that much stronger”. “And for them to sacrifice, everybody wants to start and those two (Monroe & Carter-Williams) have the right to say they should be starting, but we have no bench right now”.
The two teams have split the season series thus far, the Bucks have done a good job in their meetings with the Celtics at rebounding on both sides of the floor with stars such as Monroe and Giannis Antetokounmpo, also they have limited Celtics leading scorer Isaiah Thomas (21.5 p/g) and shoots (42.5 %) this season to just 17.5 p/g while shooting just 34% in their first two meetings.
Luckily for the green, with the help of Thomas they average 101.4 possessions per 48 minutes which leads the entire Eastern Conference. The Celtics defense has been a complete no-show the past three games since the all-star break, allowing opponents to shoot over 50%. Celtics star Thomas reacted by saying they are “taking it one game at a time but definitely we need to take advantage of this stretch”. Look for this game to be a defensive battle, as the Celtics look to get back to their winning ways with hopes of improvements in rebounding and an overall sufficient defensive presence.