The Celtics are flying high after passing a difficult road trip with flying colors — they've now won seven in a row, and they get to return home to the TD Garden rested and ready to keep the streak going.
After three days' rest following a win over the Thunder in Oklahoma City, the C's next take on the upstart Milwaukee Bucks, who will be led by breakout rookie point guard Brandon Jennings. Rajon Rondo will be tested by the athletic Jennings and the run-and-gun Bucks.
Tuesday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m. ET (CSNE)
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.
Celtics (16-4, 1st place in Atlantic Division)
Bucks (9-10, 2nd place in Central Division)
This is the Celtics' first meeting with Milwaukee this season. Last time the two teams met, it was an ugly loss for the Celtics — playing without Kevin Garnett and enduring a horrendous shooting night from Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, the C's saw their offense flounder and the Bucks waltz to an 86-77 win at home on March 15. That snapped a six-game winning streak for the Celtics versus the Bucks, dating back two years.
With Richard Jefferson gone and Michael Redd struggling to stay healthy, this is a very different team from the one that won 34 games and missed the Eastern Conference playoffs last year. Surprisingly, it's a better one.
Jennings has led the Bucks' resurgence, and the arrival of free-agent forward Hakim Warrick has also helped to fuel a Milwaukee offense in need of a shake-up. This could be a playoff team in the East this season.
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Kendrick Perkins
Point guard: Brandon Jennings
Shooting guard: Charlie Bell
Small forward: Carlos Delfino
Power forward: Ersan Ilyasova
Center: Andrew Bogut
The Celtics are 10-3 against Eastern Conference opponents this season.
They have a 49.6 team field goal percentage, second-best in the NBA.
Kendrick Perkins' 64.3 field goal percentage is second-best in the league.
Ray Allen is 93.3 percent from the free-throw line, also second-best in the league.
Rajon Rondo leads the league with 51 steals.
Paul Pierce has 22.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game against the Bucks in his career.
Kevin Garnett is averaging 15.4 points per game at home.
The Bucks are 2-7 on the road.
They have made 163 threes, fifth-most in the NBA.
Brandon Jennings is shooting 44.8 percent from beyond the three-point arc. He is averaging 21.3 points per game.
Andrew Bogut is averaging 1.8 blocks per game, a career-high.
Ersan Ilyasova leads the team with 139 total rebounds this season.
Charlie Bell averages 12.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists for his career against the Celtics.
Carlos Delfino has 9.0 points per game on the road.
Tony Allen, on the comeback trail from a right ankle injury, hopes to make his season debut.
Marquis Daniels is out with a left wrist and thumb injury.
Glen Davis is nearing his return from a broken thumb.
Michael Redd has missed the Bucks' last five games with a sore knee.
Joe Alexander is expected to miss two to three months with a partially torn right hamstring.
Andrew Bogut (strained leg) and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (sprained foot) both missed significant amounts of time toward the end of November. Both are now back in action.
In 1993, Celtics point guard Sherman Douglas scores 18 points and makes a career-high 21 assists in a 129-115 win over the Sacramento Kings. Douglas started 78 games at the point for Boston that season.
"'Nolan Ryan' Rondo threw the ball in practice, I tried to catch it, and it just hit my thumb wrong and swelled up a little more. I had to sit down and rest it a little bit."
–Marquis Daniels, in Monday's Boston Herald, on the thumb and wrist injuries that will keep him out of action this week
The C's showed marked improvement on their road trip.
Marquis Daniels will sit this one out.
Kevin Garnett: Eastern Conference Player of the Week.
Milwaukee gave up 29 unanswered points to Cleveland on Sunday.
Losing hurts the Bucks' confidence.
Brandon Jennings is a young Buck running wild.
Allen Iverson couldn't save the Sixers.
Deron Williams provided the Jazz with late heroics.
The Knicks will head to Italy next preseason.
Basic basketball rule of thumb: Never bet against a team that's riding a seven-game winning streak. That goes for the Celtics, who may be challenged by the young and energetic Brandon Jennings, but they're a far stronger team than the visiting Bucks, and they have both winning momentum and home-court advantage to pad their edge. Win number eight should be well within the C's grasp.
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