3 things to watch as the Milwaukee Bucks host stellar Boston Celtics

Dec 13, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 13, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports /
2 of 3
Milwaukee Bucks: Jrue Holiday. Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum.
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – MARCH 24: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Jayson Tatum provides an interesting matchup for the Milwaukee Bucks

Although the Boston Celtics’ defense has grabbed the headlines for their turnaround, it has also coincided with a turnaround on offense thanks to Jayson Tatum rebounding from a relatively slow start.

In his first 43 games, Tatum averaged 25.2 points on 53.2 percent true shooting, over four percent below league average. A lot of this was due to him shooting a dreadful 31.1 percent from 3 on 8.1 attempts per game. 25 points per game are great, but when you’re struggling to do it efficiently, it drags down your offense. Boston was in the bottom 10 for offensive rating at 108.7.

In his last 31 games, he’s been one of the league’s best and most efficient scorers, averaging 29.5 points on 64 percent true shooting and 40 percent from 3 on 9.2 attempts per game. Boston has the best offensive rating in that span at 119.8 and a 15.5 net rating, over six points better than second-best.

The Milwaukee Bucks haven’t seen Tatum since that explosion in late January, but he’s still been successful against them this season. The 24-year-old is averaging over 31 points on 60 percent true shooting along with 8.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists while shooting 44.4 percent from 3 on 36 attempts.

It comes down to the Bucks just not having anyone with the size and athleticism to hang one-on-one with him. They did have success in the Christmas Day game by switching everything and forcing them into taking tough, contested jumpers so that will likely be the blueprint again.

That also means we’ll see Wesley Matthews starting again but at this point, that should just be the assumed starting lineup.

If Tatum plays tonight, expect him to give the Bucks problems as he has to every defense lately.