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Game 64/82: Bucks (26-38) @ Celtics (46-17) Open Thread

 


Milwaukee at Boston
TD Garden
6:00 PM EST
CSNNE/NBA TV

Offensive Efficiency:
Boston: 105.1 points/100 possessions (13th)
Milwaukee: 98.3 points/100 possessions (30th)

Defensive Efficiency:
Boston: 97.7 points allowed/100 possessions (2nd)
Milwaukee: 100.2 points allowed/100 possessions (4th)

Probable Bucks starters: Brandon Jennings (PG), John Rashall Salmons (SG), Corey Maggete (SF), Ersan Ilyasova (PF), Andrew Bogut (C)

View from the Opposing Bench: Bucksketball

The C’s beat the Bucks shorthanded just a week ago, but this is pretty obviously the more important game. A three-game losing streak would put the Celtics in a position to have to fight pretty hard for the number one seed, and the fight itself (and the extra minutes and inevitable injuries it would entail) could potentially cost them a playoff series. So this game is important because, if they lose, it might set the C’s off on a path where they’d deprioritize seeding in order to send out a healthier squad for the second season.

It’s honestly not obvious which of those scenarios you should be hoping for. Who would you rather face in the first round? The Pacers, sure, but after that? The 76ers or the Hawks? Or the Knicks? If the Celtics lose tonight, would you be that upset to watch them lose interest in finishing the regular season strong, thus falling to the 3rd seed and facing potentially a less dangerous team for them than Philadelphia? Is it wrong to write a paragraph with only questions and no declarative statements? Would you like to start the preview now?

PLAYERS WHO MAKE ME WORRY

Andrew Bogut. One unfortunate development is that the Bucks have Andrew Bogut back after he was out for last week’s game, and Bogut is the player best equipped to capitalize on the Celtics’ lack of frontcourt depth. He’s easily enough to make up the seven-point differential in last week’s game, albeit mostly on the defensive end, although with Krstic out there who knows. Big Baby, if we see him tonight, has never been a great matchup for Bogut, but he’ll help. (EDIT: Davis will not help. He’s out). (EDIT EDIT: Davis might help. He’s in).

PLAYERS WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY

John Salmons. My theory is that John Hammond had an agenda to devalue the Executive of the Year Award by winning it and then proving himself to be as capable of incompetence as pretty much all other NBA GMs. Sort of a political statement to prove the meaninglessness of awards in general. So he went ahead and signed a 31-year-old volume shooter who depends on speed and athleticism and who’s always played with an eye on his next contract to a 5-year-deal.

This terrible contract got lost because it happened on the same day as Joe Johnson’s, which made the Salmons deal look like the Louisiana Purchase by comparison. But Salmons is playing horribly, so Hammond’s plan is playing out exactly as he intended.

WHAT THE BUCKS DO WELL

Defensive rebound. They do defensive everything pretty well, but they’re number four in the league in this category. The C’s, however, come with perhaps the most effective strategy against the Bucks rebounding attack, which is not to care about offensive boards in the first place.

WHAT THE BUCKS DO POORLY

Score at the rim. Score everywhere, really, because they’re still the league’s worst offense by a comfortable margin, but they’re confusingly awful around the basket, where they convert 57% of their attempts. The scrawny gentleman in the back with the sloping high-top cut can put his hand up here: Brandon Jennings takes four shots at the rim per game but only converts 50 percent of them. His penetration is somehow going the way of his shooting, instead of the other way around. And yet I guarantee you he still considers himself an elite offensive player. Ever wonder if his 55-point game might have been the worst possible thing for his career?

John Salmons is also having a terrible season at the rim, by the way.

WHAT WE WANT TO SEE TONIGHT

The most important person to keep an eye on in this game is Rajon Rondo. He’s going to be challenged by the Bucks defense, and if he quits and gives into his fatigue, he’s going to alter the trajectory of the 2010-2011 Celtics. The seeding, the development of the new players, the continued success of the Big Three in their waning years: it all depends on him. The greatest cost of the Perkins’s trade, in an absolute worst case scenario, might end up being Rajon Rondo’s love of basketball, and therefore his career. Is there anything in the world sadder than that? Watch Rondo tonight with interest.

PREDICTION

C’s 89, Bucks 85

  • kricky

    8 rebounds n the first Q. I love my 'Nads!

    • Batman

      he's playing awesomely

  • hdavenport

    Hope everyone picked the under for this game!

    • Batman

      What happened to Rondo? Why did he only play 3 minutes?

  • kricky

    BBD back in action and true to form. Failed to box his man out leading to a putback 3 pt play (with an assist form the Spray Tan King).

  • hdavenport

    When Rondo's out there with the bench, a disconcerting number of possessions end with him taking fallaway jumpers.

  • I_Love_Green

    Our defense is great, our offense is now starting to pick up. The guys are focused again!!

  • Batman

    This game is terrible
    the Bucks have TWENTY TWO POINTS AT HALFTIME
    And Rondo is shooting……..well *grimaces*

    • Mike

      And his defense is WTF… where did the all defense first team Rondo go?

      • Batman

        I honestly just think he is banged up.

        • Chris O

          I have been saying that

  • Batman

    Chris Johnson got signed for the rest of the season by the Blazers!

  • Csfan

    Great preview, Hayes. Love the theory about Hammond.

  • Batman

    Holy Rondo Another Pierce Smash!

  • kricky

    Arroyo has been very solid. Love the big minutes he's getting. Giving a chance for RR to rest up.

  • kricky

    Winning Ugly Feels so Good!!!!

    Kudos to the boys for stepping up tonight. Great play from the bench. Maybe this can get Murph going so he can contribute down the stretch.
    only having one practice.

    Arroyo was never a player I liked. And that Regatone stuff is just embarrassing. But give the guy credit for picking up the offense in a hurry. He still only has one practice with the team.

  • steveb

    So nice to see the starters get the 4th quarter off. Arroyo might be huge insurance at the point. Just get Shaq back and let’s roll.

    Avery just can’t get his shot going. He’ll be back next year but no playoff roster for him.

    Nenad is really opening some eyes with his play. Played well in every game in green so far.

  • Zee

    Great game!

    It was good to see the bench dominate (and it not even be the full bench) and the starters get a rest.

    Was good to see a new franchise record set, limiting our opponent to a 22 point half (first record), and limiting them to 56 points (second record).

    Nenad and Jeff alone have made the Perkins trade well worth it. In addition, its great to have some experienced players off the bench who bring confidence to our team.

    Good to see Arroyo playing so confidently and commanding the floor. Makes me wonder if Delonte will play second fiddle to him, or if they'll both be out there (both are PG's though). We'll see. I say the same thing about Shaq. I like Nenad with the starting lineup. Will he start when Shaq gets back though? I didn't see Shaq bring this type of efficiency to our starting lineup.

    BANNER 18!!!!!!!!

    • Robert

      Arroyo/Delonte and Shaq/Krstic. These definitely are good problems to have.

      Arroyo is pretty much a pure point guard (thought Doc did play him with Rondo). Delonte can play both the point and the 2. Arroyo's steadiness running the show would seem to point to Delonte mainly acting as Ray's primary backup.

      I said this in an earlier post, but I feel like Krstic is going to get decent minutes, even if Shaq is the starter. As we saw in the beginning of the season, Shaq can really only play 20-25 minutes a game before his play starts to drop off. Shaq can probably push himself a little more in the playoffs but there is definitely going to be significant playing time for the backup 5. What's even better is the two players have vastly different styles with Shaq a sledge hammer inside and Kristic the mid-range sniper.

  • Robert

    Win + low minutes for the starters. Awesome.

    56 points for the Bucks?! Crazy good d or stupid o?

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