The Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks are scheduled to meet at the Fiserv Forum on Friday night for an Eastern Conference showdown. The 21-23 Boston Celtics are coming off a hard-fought 121-119 loss against the Bucks on Wednesday. It was a big effort from the Celtics, but they came up short following a late push. The Celtics were down 14 points going into the fourth quarter and came back to nearly steal a win away from the Bucks. They out scored the Bucks by a score of 33-21 to make a game of it in the final minutes. It was a nice attempt, but they only had a tight loss to show for the effort in the fourth.
The Celtics slipped to two games below .500 with the loss. It’s the fifth loss for the Celtics in their previous six outings, as frustration continues to build in Boston. The Celtics made a move for Evan Fournier from the Orlando Magic, who will provide the team with a nice lift offensively. Fournier has scored 19.7 points and 3.7 assists per game this season. He will provide a lift, yes, but is adding Fournier going to put the Celtics over top the Bucks, 76ers, and Nets? Highly unlikely and if the Celtics’ front office believes otherwise they are delusional. This makes them a better team, but not serious contenders with the elite teams.
Who had the Knicks ahead of the Celtics a month or two ago at this point in the season? Not a whole lot. The Celtics are likely going to get out of this hole they’ve been in and make a run, though overtaking the teams I just mentioned is going to be difficult. Reaching the playoffs is not hard in the Eastern Conference, that shouldn’t be a problem. However, it’s hard to see them going deep in the postseason. The Bucks, on the other hand, are in a good spot with wins in eight straight games. They’ll look to make it a nine-game winning streak on Friday evening after surviving a late bid from the Celtics the other night.
The only win for the Celtics in their last six outings has been against the lowly Orlando Magic, 112-96. They battled hard in their last two outings, but they shouldn’t have needed to do that against the Memphis Grizzlies, a game where they ultimately fell in overtime, 132-126. The Bucks were quiet at the trade deadline, but did acquire P.J. Tucker from the Houston Rockets a week ago. They head into this evening with a record of 29-14 for a two-game deficit behind the Philadelphia 76ers. Head below for our free Celtics vs. Bucks pick on March 26, 2021.
Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks NBA Betting Odds:
Celtics vs. Bucks Prediction:
A quick fix by adding Evan Fournier likely doesn’t fix all that ails the Celtics this season. They’re going to be better, but making it past a team like the Bucks is still going to be tough. Fournier probably isn’t playing a day after getting traded, so the trade could be irrelevant as far as tonight is concerned. Even if he does, it’s likely just getting his feet wet on an ew team. The Celtics need some help offensively if they’re going to compete down the stretch. Kemba Walker has disappeared in big spots during games this season, and that is going to have to change in a hurry.
They’re 18th in the NBA with 112.2 points per game, and the Celtics have consistently been around that mark. They’ve been struggling to get over the hump. In their previous five outings, the Celtics have recorded 112.6 points per game. 15 years ago that would have been outstanding, but that’s not enough, especially with an average defense. The Celtics would like to lean on their defense. However, that hasn’t been the case for the Celtics this season. They’ve been treading water defensively, with 111.5 points against per game.
It’s average compared to their competition in the 2020-21 campaign. Boston is 16th in the league on defense. All of their defensive resistance this year has been average, which includes their ability to defend from the field and deep. If the Bucks didn’t lay off the gas pedal in the fourth quarter on Wednesday, they likely win by 15 or so points in that outing. They got way too comfortable and just about paid for it. In any case, the Bucks lead the NBA with 120 points per game, and third from the field at 48.7%.
The Bucks have been on fire shooting the ball recently, but that’s to be expected from this team. They’ve eclipsed their season averages lately, though. Milwaukee has recorded 124.6 points per game and shooting 50.1% from the field in their previous five showings. If they didn’t just put the game on cruise control versus the Celtics on Wednesday, the Bucks would have pulled away by double digits. After that scare, look for the Bucks to stay the course and not give up their lead.