The Boston Celtics are heading into a Thursday night matchup with the hottest team in the National Basketball Association. No, not the Heat. It is not the Bulls either. Nor the Thunder.
It is the Milwaukee Bucks. With their 116-87 blowout win in Portland on Tuesday, the Bucks have now won 6 consecutive games. Coming into Wednesday night’s games in the Association, no other team currently has more than 4 straight victories. In addition, Milwaukee has scored at least 100 points in 7 consecutive games for the first time since December 2006. They also became the first team this season to accomplish this feat in 7 straight games. Moreover, the Bucks have won 3 consecutive games by double digits for the first time since last March.
This will be a very tough test for the Celtics, a team that is coming off one of their worst offensive outputs of the season on Monday at the Hawks. Most of the highlights were from the game-high 29-point Celtics 4th Quarter that won them the game, but it should not overshadow the 31 Boston points at the half and 50 after the 3rd Quarter. The guys in green played poorly for most the game, but they came out of Philips Arena with the 79-76 victory. Monday’s 79-point output and 39% field goal shooting for the Celtics were both their worst numbers this season for a game in which they won. Maybe this could be a good sign because in order to win series in the playoffs, the Celtics will need to win games like these. On top of that, Atlanta is a possible 2012 playoff opponent for Boston.
While the Bucks will not be a 2012 playoff opponent for the Celtics, the 9th seeded Bucks are still fighting for a playoff spot just as much as the 7th seeded Celtics are trying to hold onto theirs. Only 3 games separate these teams, which have 2 more meetings this season: one this Thursday at the Bradley Center and the other on the last day of the season, April 26, at the TD Garden. The Bucks will be heading into Boston in late April on a back-to-back, coming off a home game vs. the 76ers on April 25. Coincidentally, the Celtics will fly to Philadelphia to play the 76ers on Friday after their game in Milwaukee this Thursday. With the Celtics’ 1-7 road record on the 2nd night of back-to-back games this season, the Thursday night clash with the Bucks is crucial for the Celtics to keep fighting for any of the 3rd through 6th seeds in the Eastern Conference.