Boston (27-12) has lost three of their last five games after a 116-103 setback against the Pistons on Wednesday. Gordon Hayward led the way with 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting. Jaylen Brown added 24 points and 12 rebounds however he sprained his right thumb during the game and is questionable for Thursday night in Milwaukee. “I don’t think it’s too bad,” Brown told reporters. The Celtics are second in the NBA in scoring defense (104.6 points per game) and third in the league in free-throw percentage (73.7%).
Milwaukee (36-6) steamrolled the Knicks on Monday night as Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 37 points in just 21 minutes on the floor. The reigning MVP is averaging 34.5 points in his last two games since scoring a season-low 13 against the Kings on Friday. The Bucks have reached the 100-point mark in 66 straight games, which is the longest streak since the Mavericks had a 67-game run back in 1986. The Bucks defense leads the league in field-goal percentage (41.2%). Milwaukee also leads the league in scoring offense (119.4 points per game) and rebounds per game (51.8).
ESPN’s FPI gives Milwaukee a 78.6% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Thursday’s matchup between the Celtics and Bucks.
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Celtics vs. Bucks Game Details
Date: Thursday, January 16
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Fiserv Forum (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
TV: TNT, TSN1, TSN3
Spread: Bucks -9.5
- SG Jaylen Brown (thumb) questionable
- C Robert Williams III (hip) out
- PF Jayson Tatum (knee) questionable
- SG Donte DiVincenzo (finger) probable
- SG Wesley Matthews (finger) probable
- PG Frank Mason III (oblique) questionable
- Celtics are 27-12 SU and 22-15-2 ATS this season
- Bucks are 36-6 SU and 24-18 ATS this season
- Under 22-17 in Celtics games this season
- Over is 21-20-1 in Bucks games this season
Analysis & Pick
This is bad timing for the Celtics to be playing the best team in the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee has been in cruise control since opening night and currently has the best record in the NBA. Boston won the last meeting as a 3.5-point home underdog back on October 30 with Kemba Walker going off for 32 points, 21 of which coming in the second half. The Celtics outscored the Bucks 74-47 over the game’s final 24 minutes. Milwaukee has won 34 of 38 games since that setback in Boston. The Bucks continue to play at the league’s fastest pace even though the over is only 21-20-1 in Milwaukee games this season. Considering Boston has been struggling on offense lately, and the Celtics exceptional defense, I’ll nibble on the under here in a game that should have all the playoff feels.
PICK: Under 224.5
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith