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Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics Prediction - 3 key matchups that could be the difference-maker

Orlando Magic v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Two
Orlando Magic v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Two
Trent Bixby
ANALYST
Modified 22 Dec 2020, 09:52 IST
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The Boston Celtics will host the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night in an old-fashioned Eastern Conference battle to kick off the 2020-21 NBA Season.

The Celtics did not get the chance to face the Bucks in the playoffs last season, but we can always expect a playoff-style atmosphere whenever these two teams face off.

Check out the complete NBA Schedule right here.

The Boston Celtics have hovered around the top of the Eastern Conference for years and seem to get more talented as time passes.

The Celtics have proven to be a team with great chemistry and a winning formula. They will likely challenge teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Miami Heat for the top spot in the East yet again.

Jayson Tatum has emerged as the Celtics' star, and fans have big expectations for him this 2020-21 season.

The Milwaukee Bucks, the defending Eastern Conference regular season champions, will be looking to improve upon their disappointing finish last season.

The Bucks made some big offseason moves, most notably extending their superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo's stay with a 4-year, $100-million dollar contract.

Giannis will play a key role for the Bucks against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday and should expect to draw double-teams from Celtics' defenders all night.

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Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics Match Prediction: 3 huge matchups to watch

The Boston Celtics are led by Marcus Smart on defense and have built a reputation for being one of the strongest defensive teams in the Eastern Conference. This will make for a great matchup with one of the NBA's most powerful offenses in the Milwaukee Bucks.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jayson Tatum will be the headline acts for their respective teams, with supporting players such as Kemba Walker and Khris Middleton also playing a huge factor in Wednesday's matchup.

Here are the 3 key matchups that could end up being the difference-makers for the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks.


#3 Brook Lopez vs Tristan Thompson and Daniel Theis

Milwaukee Bucks v Golden State Warriors
Milwaukee Bucks v Golden State Warriors

This battle of bigs between Brook Lopez and Tristan Thompson could be the difference-maker for the Milwaukee Bucks in this game.

Lopez is coming off his least productive season, but he did not have bad numbers. He has been a dominant center in the NBA for years and is ready to enter his 13th season.

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Lopez averaged 12 points per game last year, while also averaging 4.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and a team-leading 2.4 blocks per game.

Tristan Thompson of the Boston Celtics is expected to return after a right hamstring strain sidelined him from both of his team's preseason games. If Thompson is healthy, he can provide strong defense on Brook Lopez and could potentially shut down the paint for the Celtics' defense.

However, Thompson may have his minutes reduced, opening the door for Daniel Theis. Theis had a career-high in minutes, points, and rebounds last season and seems to be improving with time.

The biggest takeaway of this matchup for the Celtics is to shut down Brook Lopez. Whether they have to use Tristan Thompson or Daniel Theis to do it, control of the paint will be essential for the Celtics on Wednesday night.

If Brook Lopez can return to his dominant form as we have seen in years past, it could be a big night for the Milwaukee Bucks.


#2 Kemba Walker vs Jrue Holiday

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Golden State Warriors v Boston Celtics
Golden State Warriors v Boston Celtics

This matchup will be a very fun battle to watch, with Boston Celtics' Kemba Walker coming off yet another strong season, and Jrue Holiday making his Milwaukee Bucks debut.

Jrue Holiday played for the New Orleans Pelicans last season and averaged 19 points and 7 assists per game. He is entering his 12th year in the NBA and has proven himself as a solid point guard.

Kemba Walker is a spark for the Boston Celtics' offense and could be the right man for this matchup against Jrue Holiday and the Milwaukee Bucks. Walker averaged 20 points and nearly 5 assists per game in his first year with the Celtics last season.

This matchup will be all about offense and who is able to break away from coverage for long enough to get an open shot. Both Holiday and Walker are very good three-point shooters and will be looking to make plays on offense all night long.

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#1 Giannis Antetokounmpo vs Marcus Smart

Boston Celtics v Milwaukee Bucks
Boston Celtics v Milwaukee Bucks
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Giannis Antetokounmpo will open his season with a huge test. Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics was named to his second consecutive NBA All-Defense Team and will not be looking to take it easy on the "Greek Freak" on Wednesday.

Marcus Smart has established himself as one of the toughest defenders in all of basketball, and his skills will be put to the ultimate test against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. If Smart is able to lock down one of the best scorers in the league, he would set his team up for a huge victory.

Antetokounmpo, the reigning NBA MVP, averaged a career-high 29.5 points and 13.6 rebounds per game last season and dominated every defense he faced.

In these teams' last meeting, Giannis scored 36 points with 15 rebounds and 7 assists. If he can produce these numbers again on Wednesday, the Bucks should be well on their way to a 1-0 start to their season.

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This matchup could be the deciding factor in the game and will definitely make for great entertainment, no matter who wins. Giannis/Smart has proven to become very competitive in the past, and I expect no different on Wednesday night.

Published 22 Dec 2020, 09:52 IST
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