Two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference will kick off the second half of the NBA season on Thursday night. The Boston Celtics were predicted to be the top team in the East, but the Milwaukee Bucks currently hold the top spot in the East. Boston and Milwaukee haven’t mid since mid-December, and the two teams have split the first two meetings of the season.
Milwaukee finished the first half of the regular season with a 43-14 record, and have a commanding 5.5 game lead in the Central Division. The Bucks finished the first half of the regular season by winning eight of their last nine games. Boston comes into this game with a 37-21 record, and are in second place in the Atlantic Division. Milwaukee is a 5.5 point favorite over Boston in this game.
Bucks Offense Is Legit
The Milwaukee Bucks are one of the best offensive teams in the NBA this season, pouring in close to 117 points per game. The Bucks are shooting 57 percent on two-point field goal attempts this season, and they are great at getting to the rim. All five starters for the Bucks are averaging double-figures, and they are all capable of putting up big numbers. Milwaukee’s offense should carry them deep into the playoffs.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging a team-high 27.2 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game, and is doing it all for the Bucks. The “Greek Freak” put on a show in the All-Star Game and will continue that in the second half of the season. Forward Khris Middleton was also an All-Star this season and is averaging 17.1 points while shooting 38 percent from the three-point line this season. Antetokounmpo and Middleton are the leaders for Milwaukee, but they have plenty of support.
Celtics Depth Could Be A Key
The Boston Celtics have one of the most talented rosters in the NBA, but keeping all of their players healthy has been a challenge. Celtics center Aron Baynes has been out with a foot injury but is expected to return soon. Boston is averaging 113.0 points per game so far this season, but are capable of scoring more. The Celtics have been winning games with their defense, allowing just 106.6 points per game. Boston will have to score to keep up with Milwaukee in this game.
Point guard Kyrie Irving is leading the team with 23.6 points and 6.9 assists per game this season and was named to the 2019 NBA All-Star team. Irving has caused some off-court drama during the season but is still capable of leading the team. Boston has six different players averaging double-figures this season, and their depth will be a huge key moving forward.
Bucks Start 2nd Half Off Strong
Boston could very well end up winning the Eastern Conference, but they have plenty of work to do. The Celtics can play some defense, but at some point, their offense must catch up. Milwaukee has been an offensive juggernaut all season long, and that won’t change in the second half of the season. The Bucks are the team to beat in the East, and they will show it in this game. Bet the Milwaukee Bucks -5.5 over the Boston Celtics.