In what could be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks will lock horns in their respective season openers.
The Bucks went 2-1 straight up against the Celtics last season. Boston got a win in that series with the lone meeting of these teams at TD Garden.
Catch this game live on Thursday, December 24 at 8:30 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: Boston Celtics (0-0, 0-0 at home)
There are a couple of Celtics injuries to take note of prior to this game. Kemba Walker is not going to play in the opener along, while Tristan Thompson is considered questionable, as of this writing. The Celtics will also enter their first post-Gordon Hayward season.
Walker and Hayward were huge for the Celtics’ offense last season, and their absence, at least for this meeting with the Bucks, could be felt. That being said, the Celtics just signed Jeff Teague, giving them insurance for Walker and stability at the guard position. On the defensive end, the Celtics should retain their identity, as Walker and Hayward were not as effective on that end of the field.
With Marcus Smart’s ability to guard anyone from 1-5 along with excellent perimeter defenders in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics should be able to show why they were a top-10 defensive team last season. Back in the 2019-20 campaign, the Celtics were second in the NBA with opponents scoring just 106.8 points per game.
The total has hit the over three times in the Celtics’ last five home games.
ROAD TEAM: Milwaukee Bucks (0-0, 0-0 on the road)
The Bucks pretty much checked all the important boxes during the offseason. Well, it’s actually just one, which was to lock up Giannis Antetokounmpo for the long term. But getting Jrue Holiday in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans wasn’t too shabby either.
With that move, the Bucks instantly became significantly stronger in the backcourt. Holiday gives Milwaukee an excellent player on both ends of the court. Holiday should mean trouble for Boston’s Jeff Teague, who might find himself struggling all night keeping the Bucks’ guard in check.
The trio of Antetokounmpo, Holiday, and Khris Middleton sounds fun for Milwaukee and terrifying for opposing teams. There shouldn’t be much of a problem in terms of fitting in with the Bucks for Holiday, as he’s as good of a scoring threat as a playmaker off the ball. In his final season with New Orleans, Holiday averaged 19.1 points and 6.7 assists per game.
The Bucks will enter this game having covered three of their last four games as the road team.
As mentioned, the trio of the Greek Freak, Middleton, and Holiday is going to be a huge problem for the rest of the league, and it’s the Celtics who will experience that first. The Bucks win this contest, 113-106.