Milwaukee Bucks (Scott Skiles) 1-3
Inactive: Chris Douglas Roberts, Michael Redd, Darington Hobson
Boston Celtics (Doc Rivers) 3-1
Inactive: Kendrick Perkins, Luke Harangody, Delonte West
Game Time: 7:00 PM (CST)
TV: ESPN/FS Wisconsin
The Other Guys: Celtics Hub
Brandon Jennings vs. Rajon Rondo
Rondo is one of the worst outside shooting point guards you’ll ever see, but incredibly effective off the dribble. With his array of shots, he’s pretty much unguardable if he gets in the paint. His length, quickness and aggressiveness will give Jennings problems on the offensive end too. Rondo plays with a real chip on his shoulder and seems like he’s out to prove that he’s the best point guard in the league every night. With games of 17, 24 and 17 assists under his belt this year, it’s getting harder and harder to argue that he isn’t. Jennings shot very poorly again against the Blazers, but didn’t force much. So long as his 3-point shot is unreliable though, Milwaukee will struggle. They don’t have enough outside shooters to absorb his inconsistencies.
John Salmons vs. Ray Allen
One of these nights, Salmons will hopefully look like the Salmons of the second half of last season, instead of the Salmons of the first half of last season. Every night, Ray Allen still looks like the Ray Allen of 10 years ago. That pretty much sums this up.
Carlos Delfino vs. Paul Pierce
Pierce is a very creative shot-maker that can hurt Milwaukee off the dribble or from behind the arc. He’s kind of like a more physical Brandon Roy. He likely won’t provide the same suffocating defense off the ball that Nicolas Batum did yesterday, but could hurt the Bucks a lot more on the offensive end. The general Celtics scheme may focus on keeping Delfino from getting open looks outside, as he appears to be the Bucks only 3-point threat at the moment. It will be important that Delfino let fly the second he has any space outside. Milwaukee needs a big shooting night from him if they hope to stay close.
Drew Gooden vs. Kevin Garnett
Defensively, Garnett looks as good as ever and he’s boosted his scoring and rebounding averages back up around his levels from his first season as a Celtic too. He has a reliable mid-range jumper that could give the Bucks the same problems Dante Cunningham and LaMarcus Aldridge gave them with theirs Tuesday night as well. Gooden was much more eager to pass the ball in Tuesday night’s game and he looked good doing it at times. Sometimes it seemed like he was trying to force it into tight spots, but the effort was appreciated. He’s still relying on isolations to score baskets though, something he should be getting done off offensive rebounds and mid-range jumpers off kick-outs. He’s still a work in progress. At the very least, Gooden is a better person than Garnett, who apparently called Charlie V. a cancer patient yesterday. Wow.
Andrew Bogut vs. Jermaine O’Neal
Shaquille O’Neal got the night off in Detroit thanks to a knee injury and Jermaine filled in just fine, scoring 12 points. Jermaine doesn’t have the intimidating size of Shaq and could potentially be a point of attack for the Bucks with Bogut. Bogut looks like he still isn’t comfortable using his right hand to finish any of his post moves outside of tip-ins with. He had a number of hooks using the right yesterday that he couldn’t get to fall. If teams figure that out quickly, they’ll do everything they can to cut him off from going to the middle on the right block and using his dangerous left-handed hooks. Believe me when I say the Celtics are likely aware of this.
Corey Maggette, Ersan Ilyasova, Keyon Dooling, Jon Brockman and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
Glen Davis, Marquis Daniels, Nate Robinson and Von Wafer
Coach Skiles is still searching for answers off the bench. He’s gotten little out of this group and their size disadvantage could be exploited in this one, especially if Shaq plays. Milwaukee needs a lot more out of Keyon Dooling, who hasn’t given them a third of the production that Luke Ridnour did last season. Maggette keeps getting to the line, but the offense doesn’t move very well while he’s in the game. Everyone is standing around waiting for him to attack. While he generally generates positive results for himself, if no one else is getting in the flow, it isn’t working out so well. Even if he’s successful, Milwaukee needs to keep the ball moving. Glen Davis is another Celtic big man that can step away from the hoop and hit a mid-range jumper. He’s had a nice start to the season for them and is hitting better than 60% of his shots.
Prediction: Celtics 94 – Bucks 80
This is not the ideal place for the Bucks to go figure themselves out. The struggles will likely continue, Milwaukee will likely turn the ball over more than they help each other out offensively and shooting percentage should remain an issue. Boston makes all those things issues against teams that are really good, imagine what they’ll do to a team that hasn’t figured out how to play together yet? A bad loss in Boston is nothing to get too worked up about though. I’m beginning to think we’ll see a month’s worth of less than stellar Bucks ball before these guys figure each other out.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter. Then become a fan of Bucksketball on Facebook (to the right).