Game 64: Celtics vs. Bucks
March, 13, 2011
By Greg Payne | ESPNBoston.com
|(46-17, 27-6 home)||-- vs. --||(26-38, 9-22 away)|
PAYNE'S THREE THINGS TO WATCH
- Krstic vs. Bogut: Bucks center Andrew Bogut didn't play when these two clubs met last week due to a left rib cage injury, but he's played in the Bucks' three games since, and has averaged 11.3 points and 9.3 rebounds. Bogut has a history of carving up Boston centers on the offensive side, and he'll have a go against Nenad Krstic Sunday. Will Krstic be able to combat the flurry of post moves Bogut's sure to unleash?
- Take advantage early: The Bucks defeated the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night, meaning Sunday's game serves as the second night of a back-to-back for them. This season Milwaukee boasts just a 7-10 record on the second night of back-to-backs. More importantly, Milwaukee has trailed at the end of the first quarter in nine of those 10 losses. For a Celtics team that's struggled out of the gate the last few games, tonight could be the perfect opportunity for them to get off to a fast start.
- Garnett's shooting: Is Kevin Garnett in a shooting slump? We'll give the Big Ticket another game before we officially bust out that terminology. But Garnett has undoubtedly struggled with his shot the last two games. He connected on just 5-of-19 shots against the Clippers last Wednesday (good for a season-low 26.3 percent from the floor) and didn't improve much against the 76ers on Friday, when he produced 5-of-13 shooting. The good news? When the Celtics and Bucks played last Sunday, Garnett made 6-of-12 shots and finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Beating the Celtics could put the Bucks in playoff position. Tenth in the East heading into the day, Milwaukee is just one half-game behind Indiana and Charlotte -- both of which play on the road Sunday.
"It's pretty ridiculous, isn't it?" center Andrew Bogut said.
There are plenty of reasons to doubt the Bucks can pull out a win at the TD Garden, though. Boston hasn't lost three straight since March 28-April 2, 2010, and it's responded to its four two-game skids this season with winning streaks of 14, four, four and three.
Milwaukee, meanwhile, has gone into a tailspin after its previous three-game winning streaks. The Bucks have followed with slides of five, three and four games.
They'll at least be healthier than they were a week ago against Boston. Bogut missed that game with a muscle strain in his ribcage, while Corey Maggette should be available after sitting out two games with a knee injury. Maggette was active Saturday, but coach Scott Skiles didn't play him.
Bogut's presence could be key. He's averaged 22.8 points and 13.3 rebounds in his last four games against the Celtics.
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