The Meaning of an NBA Christmas
For the Milwaukee Bucks to be able to play on Christmas Day at 5pm EST, a large event in the NBA, speaks to all of the progress this franchise has made over the past ten years. (410 wins- 341 losses) Unlike Thanksgiving Day in the NFL where the games are all about tradition, Christmas NBA games are all about “the product” and the showcase of talent. This game was most likely one of the first games circled by the Bucks players and coaches. (I know I had that paragraph written and rewritten for weeks.) This one should be entertaining. Merry Christmas!
The Bucks are coming off a tough loss against Brooklyn where they turned the ball over and never seemed to be able to get within ten points of the Nets. (118-100) This is the first time the Bucks have lost back-to-back games this season as they also lost in Cleveland to the Cavs. The Celtics, Bucks, Cavs, and Nets have the four best records in the entire NBA. Those four teams are all Eastern Conference teams. The fifth best record belongs to the Denver Nuggets out of the West.
So with all that said, let’s get our game preview rolling.
The 22-10 Milwaukee Bucks take on the 23-10 Boston Celtics at 4pm CST Christmas Day. This is a major showcase game for the league and will be televised nationally on ABC. It’s Giannis vs Tatum and Smart vs Holiday and Sam Adams Beer vs Miller Lite. Let’s break it down!
Vegas has the Bucks at a 30% chance to win and 5 point underdogs. The over/under is 225.
For Milwaukee to win they will need to be able to do three important things.
Stop Turning the Ball Over So Much
The Bucks have been a little careless with the ball of late. Against the Nets they had 18 turnovers and against Cleveland they had 19. (Their opponents each only had 10.) It is just a sports “truism”- turning the ball over to your opponents gives them more opportunities to score.
The Bucks, on the season, were averaging less than 15 a game. They need to keep that number down.
Shoot the three well
Something still is not right with the Bucks offense. So far this season the Bucks are 17th in the NBA in three point shooting percentage but are 7th in the NBA in three point attempts. That disconnect has been something that has come up quite a bit recently.
When the Bucks walloped the Thunder they shot 47% from three. When Milwaukee got walloped by Memphis they only shot 26%. If you split the difference at 37%, the Bucks win.
Grayson Allen and Jevon Carter are Milwaukee’s top two three point shooters by percentage. (41% and 40.5%). If they can knock down 6 or 7 threes between them, that’s only going to help.
It’s Time to Shine
The Bucks have a global star in Giannis and great all-star types in Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, Bobby Portis and Brook Lopez. Giannis averages 31 points a game. Let’s see if he can go over that number.
That goes for the role players too. Jevon Carter, Pat Connaughton and Joe Ingles could stand to sink a few threes. If Portis or Allen can step out with a solid double-double the Bucks have a great chance.
The Opponent: The Boston Celtics
Jason Tatum is having an MVP caliber season. He is averaging 30/8/4. He is also in a big media market on a team that got off to a hot start.
Milwaukee has played flat this week, losing its last two. Boston has also played “flat” lately, losing twice to Orlando (on a back-to-back at home) and lost ugly to Golden State. While Jaylen Brown is playing well this season, he’s been flat.
But Marcus Smart is the spark plug. He passes well, plays great defense and provides tons of energy. He’s 9th in the NBA in assists (Jrue Holiday is 8th). It’ll be one of the pivotal match-ups to watch.
AL Horford is still around and playing well. But this season he has been up and down. If Brook Lopez and Bobby can play big and take on the Celtics lack of size that would bode well for Milwaukee.
Boston so far is the best free throw shooting team in the NBA ( 82.8%). They also are second in the NBA in points scored (118.1).
Things to tell your buddies as you are watching the game
- The Bucks are ok on the road. (8-7 record). If they lose, blame it, together, on being away from the Fiserv Forum.
- The Celtics lead the all-time series 114-109.
- The Celtics record, all-time, is 3536-2447. They have the most recorded wins in NBA history.
- When the Celtics do win at home, one of two songs is usually played: “Back in the Saddle” by Aerosmith or “You Should Be Dancing” by the Bee Gees.
- The Celtics are one of the NBA’s original eight teams. The other seven were the New York Knicks, Philadelphia (now Golden State) Warriors, the Providence Steamrollers, the Baltimore Bullets, the Chicago Stags, the Washington Capitols and the St. Louis Bombers.
An image of an old NBA program is below.
- Merry Christmas!
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