In an odd scheduling quirk, the Celtics (13-12) and Bucks (13-11) complete their four-game season series before Christmas. Through three games, Milwaukee leads two games to one.
When Boston took on the Cavaliers on Wednesday, Celtics coach Doc Rivers inserted 7’0″ forward Jason Collins into the starting lineup aside Paul Pierce. The duo combined to score 41 points. Collins scored one of them, to go with two rebounds and six fouls in 23 minutes.
If Rivers turns to that pair again, it will be interesting to see how Scott Skiles uses his starters. Marquis Daniels defended Pierce well in the last game, but Luc Mbah a Moute would be an even more natural choice in terms of skill and size. But that would leave Daniels on a much larger player, or starting someone else at power forward. (Take your pick from a bevy of options; mine would be Ekpe Udoh.)
Collins’ insertion was due in part to Doc Rivers wanting another pick-setter for Jason Terry. Terry was also a new insertion into the starting lineup against Cleveland. He took over for Courtney Lee and scored 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
Lining up against Terry in the starting lineup will be Monta Ellis, who made one of his 14 shots Wednesday versus Memphis.
Bold prediction: Monta will play better on Friday.
Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Jason Terry, Paul Pierce, Jason Collins, Kevin Garnett
Bucks: Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Marquis Daniels, Luc Mbah a Moute, Larry Sanders
Avery Bradley (shoulder surgery): day-to-day
Tobias Harris (right forearm laceration): out
Beno Udrih (right ankle sprain): out
In a way, the Celtics and Bucks are alike. By the numbers, both should be sub-.500 teams given their negative point differentials. Instead, both teams have poked their way forward in a crowded race of Eastern Conference playoff contenders.
The Celtics rank 7th in effective field goal percentage, 30th in offensive rebounding rate, and 16th in opponents’ effective field goal percentage.
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