141 days ago, the NBA season came to a screeching halt in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that was swept the globe. While there are many things that have become a struggle for many people because of this, Milwaukee sports fans were devastated. For the first time in nearly 40 years, it seemed as if the Bucks were on their way to a championship. Now, months later, their chase resumes.
Inside the protective bubble of Orlando, Florida, the Bucks resume the 2019-2020 season against the Boston Celtics on Friday night. This is a match up to watch as both teams are considered to be among the better teams in the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee has all but clinched the top seed in the East while Boston currently holds the third best record in the conference.
Recent Bucks vs. Celtics History
The teams have split the first two games that they played against each other this year. Boston won the first game, the fifth game of the season, in a comeback victory. Milwaukee, though, won the high-scoring second game 128-123. Last season, the Bucks eliminated the Celtics from the playoffs in five games. This game could be a preview of yet another playoff meeting between the two teams.
The Bucks Entering the Restart
The Bucks, of course, are led by Giannis Antetokounmpo. The 2019 MVP is the favorite to win the award again this season, in addition to Defensive Player of the Year. If he does win both, he would be the third player to do so in the same season. Giannis is averaging 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game, leading the team in each category. All-Star forward Khris Middleton will look to continue his pursuit of a 50-40-90 season. Middleton currently is averaging 21.1 points per game. If he achieves shooting 50-40-90 and keeps his average above 20 points, he will join a very exclusive club. The only players in NBA history to shoot those percentages and average 20 points are Larry Bird (who did it twice), Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitski, and Stephen Curry.
The Celtics Entering the Restart
The Boston Celtics are led by All-Star Jayson Tatum, who is averaging 23.6 points. All-Star Kemba Walker, who is averaging 21.2 points, has been very tough on the Bucks this season. However, he is nursing a knee injury that may see his minutes limited. In addition to these two stars, Boston has three other players who average double digits in scoring. Among these three is Jaylen Brown, who averages 20.3 points per game.
Missing Two Key Contributors
This game will certainly be challenging for the Bucks, who will be without Eric Bledsoe and Pat Connaughton, who joined the team late after testing positive for COVID-19. The Bucks, though, boast the best defense in the league and will look to contain the high-scoring Celtics.