After one of the shortest offseason's in league history, the NBA returned on Tuesday night with the LA Clippers defeating reigning champions LA Lakers. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets saw off the Golden State Warriors. In NBA Games Today, the Nets' Eastern Conference rivals, the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics, face-off in TD Garden for a matchup that should not be missed.
Boston come into their first game of the 2020-21 NBA Season without talismanic point guard Kemba Walker on the floor. The point guard will continue to recover from a knee problem until January. This could see veteran guard Jeff Teague step up to fill the role or coach Brad Stevens may instead opt for the versatile Jaylen Brown to run the offense alongside franchise star Jayson Tatum.
The Boston Celtics will be relying heavily on their strong defense if they are to keep out Giannis and co.
Milwaukee secured their power forward to a massive contract extension over the offseason and were able to bring in Jrue Holiday in place of Eric Bledsoe. Utilisable at either guard position, Holiday is an upgrade on the outgoing Bledsoe and will hope he can get his Bucks career off on the right footing.
Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics betting Odds
Milwaukee Bucks: -4 (-110)
Boston Celtics: +4 (-110)
Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics lines
Milwaukee Bucks: -182
Boston Celtics: +155
Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics picks against the spread
Milwaukee Bucks: -4.5 (-112)
Boston Celtics: +4.5 (-109)
NBA Games Today: Milwaukee expected to start season strong
The Milwaukee Bucks had the best record of the NBA regular season last year with a record of 56-17. Led by Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, the franchise eased past the Orlando Magic in five games but were stumped by the Miami Heat in the Conference Semi-finals. Although the Greek limped out of the tie in their must-win Game 4, the series was already lost.
After a nail-biting offseason, waiting for Antetokounmpo to sign a new contract, Milwaukee Bucks fans will be enthusiastic about the season ahead. They are expected once again to be among the top seeds in the East but will need to improve their scoring ability in the process.
Last year, the Bucks were ranked 10th in the league for offensive efficiency. Having rebuilt their roster with several key bench changes and bringing in Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee will feel like a new unit during their opening game. The ability of reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the supporting cast should prove to be enough though to overcome the Boston Celtics among the NBA Games Today.
Despite having home-court advantage, the Boston Celtics, as mentioned, are without Kemba Walker and may struggle against the rebounding ability of Antetokounmpo and Bucks center Brook Lopez. Boston finished third in defensive efficiency last season, though their opponents pipped them to the first position.
The game is likely, therefore, to be a cagey affair which could be decided on the rustiness of each side's defensive shape starting the new season.Published 23 Dec 2020, 22:29 IST