Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics NBA Pick – December 23

The NBA season has returned and will have plenty of action on the board throughout Wednesday night. Thirteen games will be up on the board on December 23. One of these games will be between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics. These two teams are coming off strong regular seasons, but disappointing playoff finishes. This game will tip off at around 7:30 PM Eastern time on TNT.

The Bucks finished out last season with a record of 56-17, which put them in the top spot of the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee met up with the Orlando Magic in the first round of the playoffs and moved on, but were eliminated by the Miami Heat in the second round. The Bucks are looking to bounce back this season as they look to finally break through in the East.

Boston put up a record of 48-24 throughout last season, which helped them secure the third seed in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics knocked off the Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors before being eliminated by the Heat in the East Finals. Boston will look to make another strong regular season push to try and reach the Finals this season.

These two teams both fell to the hands of the Miami Heat in the postseason in August and September. Now both teams will look to bounce back this season as they try and make another postseason run. The Bucks and the Celtics had a solid offseason to keep themselves in contention for the East, which should lead to a great matchup to kick off the new campaign.

Previous Matchups

Milwaukee and Boston met up three times throughout last season. The Celtics hosted the first matchup back on October 30. Khris Middleton finished with 26 points, while Giannis Antetokounmpo had 22 points and 14 rebounds. Kemba Walker dropped 32 points on the day, while Jayson Tatum earned 25 points. Boston’s starting lineup combined for 108 points as the Celtics won 116-105.

The second game of the season series was in Milwaukee on January 16. Kemba Walker scored 40 points and added 11 rebounds. Marcus Smart dropped 24 points for the Celtics, but it was not enough. Giannis Antetokounmpo dropped 32 points and 17 rebounds, while Khris Middleton scored 23 points. The Bucks were able to bounce back with a 128-123 win to even up the season series.

The final game of the season series was during the qualifiers on July 31. Marcus Smart scored 23 points, while Jaylen Brown dropped 22 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo had another big day, scoring 36 points and 15 rebounds. Khris Middleton added 18 points as well to help lift Milwaukee to a big 119-112 win to help secure the top spot in the East.

These two teams met up three times throughout last season, with the Bucks taking two of the three outings. The Celtics were able to take the first meeting of the season series, but dropped the next two. Boston was able to keep it close in both other games and I expect another good one on Wednesday night. The Bucks are on a bit of a revenge tour after a shocking loss in the second round of the postseason.

Top Performers

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton were the leaders for Milwaukee last season. Antetokounmpo averaged 29.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game last season. Middleton averaged 21 points per game on top of that. Brook Lopez was averaging 12 points per game as well. The Bucks also added Jrue Holiday, who averaged 19 points per game with New Orleans last season.

Jayson Tatum rose up for the Celtics throughout last season. Tatum averaged 23.5 points and 7 rebounds per game. Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown were averaging 20.5 points per game throughout last season. Marcus Smart averaged 13 points per game as well to help lift up Boston. The Celtics added Jeff Teague and Tristan Thompson to add to their depth in the offseason.

These two teams helped add to their depth in the offseason with the additions of Holiday for the Bucks and Teague and Thompson on Boston. The duo of Antetokounmpo and Middleton both dominated throughout last season and will look to get back to that form as this season arrives. I expect both teams to try and get their starters going early in this one as they look for a big win.

Field Goal Shooting Last Season

The Bucks were a strong shooting team throughout last season, but struggled from deep. Milwaukee made around 47.6 percent of their shots from the field last season, which was third in the league. The Bucks made 56.7 percent of their shots in close, which was best in the NBA. Milwaukee shot 35.5 percent from deep, which was 18th in the league.

Boston was not great shooting last season, despite their success last season. The Celtics were able to make around 46.1 percent of their shots from the field last season, which was 17th in the NBA. Boston also made 36.4 percent of their shots from deep and 52.2 percent of their shots in close last season. Those numbers were 13th and 18th in the NBA, respectively.

Milwaukee was the better shooting team throughout last season, but Boston’s defense was great. The Celtics held opposing teams to the fourth worst field goal percentage and second worst three point percentage. The Bucks opponents had the worst field goal percentage and worst two point percentage. These two defenses will look to start the season strong as they go up against each other.

Pick Overview

The Bucks and the Celtics were in the top of the Eastern Conference last season and will look to start this season out strong. Boston was able to make it further in the playoffs, but both teams were knocked out by Miami. Milwaukee was able to lock up Antetokounmpo in the offseason and with the addition of Holiday, I expect them to put up a great season this campaign, starting with a win over Boston.

BetOnline has the Bucks listed as a -3 against the spread in this one. This gives a solid edge to Milwaukee despite being on the road in this one. I agree with this line as the Bucks were dominant throughout the East in the last two seasons. I think that Milwaukee will come out this season with a chip on their shoulder after being questioned all offseason.

Milwaukee Bucks -3
Andruw Burling / Author

Andruw Burling has been writing sports picks since 2017, covering mainly NHL and NBA content, but doing work in other sports as well. Andruw grew up in Las Vegas and has been around sports since a young age. He grew up a huge NHL and NBA fan and continues to use that knowledge in his content today.