Bucks have a new weapon for Round 3 vs. Celtics


Bucks have a new weapon for Round 3 vs. Celtics

BOSTON – One of the many things that makes Giannis Antetokounmpo such a special talent, is how he can grab a rebound and initiate a fast break all by his lonesome. 

It was easy for the Milwaukee Bucks to defer to him, because there was no one on their roster whose talents thrived in transition as much as the Greek Freak’s … until Eric Bledsoe arrived via trade. 

And with Bledsoe in the fold, Milwaukee has become a much tougher team to defend because when it comes to initiating the offense, you really have no idea whether it’ll be Antetokounmpo or Bledsoe.

“Whoever gets the rebound, brings it up,” Bledsoe said “Coach (Jason) Kidd draws up plays in time-outs. Who handle it, who doesn’t.”


The addition of Bledsoe has indeed made the Bucks a deeper, more athletic and versatile team in the backcourt. But his arrival has also meant Malcolm Brogdon, the league’s Rookie of the Year last season, returning to coming off the bench. 

Bledsoe said there hasn’t been any kind of sit-down conversation between him and Brogdon. 

“At the same time, I’m not trying to take his spot or show, “I’m better,” Bledsoe said. “It’s a team thing. We need him as much as everybody needs each other. He’s one of the biggest pieces to this thing. What he brings to the game, I can’t bring. He comes off the bench, he plays … some of these games we’ve won, he’s played great in. So we definitely need him.”

Bucks head coach Jason Kidd echoed similar sentiments.

“Malcolm came off the bench for us last year at some parts of the season,” Kidd said. “Just understanding that he’s a true pro. Finishing games is what it’s all about, understanding your best five are on the floor at the end. And so, understanding he’s going to be on the floor a lot of times at the end of ball games. The only thing that’s changed is he doesn’t hear his name announced at the beginning of games.”

Added Bledsoe: “It’s all about one goal and that’s winning a championship. It’s not about, ‘oh he took my spot’ or ‘he’s better than me’ or ‘how much he get paid, how much I get paid.’ It’s about one thing and that’s winning; winning solves everything.”

Here are five under-the-radar story lines heading into tonight’s game between the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks.



After beginning his career with the Los Angeles Clippers and moving on to the Phoenix Suns, Eric Bledsoe might need to brush up on his winter wardrobe, right? 

Not exactly. 

 “I had plenty of (winter coats),” Bledsoe said. “But I could never use them in Phoenix. Now I can put them to use. I had a lot of dust on them so I can blow the dust off them now.”



Some of the best work offensively we’ve seen from Al Horford this season has come against the Milwaukee Bucks. This season, he’s averaging 20.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. The 20.0 points are Horford’s highest average this season against a team the Celtics have played more than once. 



He may be in and out of the starting lineup, but Baynes continues to be a steady, impactful force when he’s on the floor for the Celtics. His defensive rating of 91.2 is tops among all players in the league while limiting opponents to shooting just 43 percent from the field against him. 



Milwaukee gets a lot of praise for its roster that’s filled with long-armed scorers. But what’s often overlooked is the Bucks shooting this season. Milwaukee comes into tonight’s game shooting 48.0 percent from the field which ranks third in the NBA this season. 



The Celtics have had a rough go of it late when it comes to rebounding. But the Bucks just may be the elixir they need to cure whatever has gone wrong with them on the boards. Milwaukee has a rebounding percentage of 47.2 which ranks 29th (out of 30 teams) in the NBA this season. Meanwhile, the Celtics have shown some slippage of late when it comes to rebounding, but they still respectable rebounding percentage of .513 which ranks ninth in the NBA.



Report: Kyrie Irving to undergo knee exam Thursday


Report: Kyrie Irving to undergo knee exam Thursday

The second opinion on Kyrie Irving’s sore left knee will be done on Thursday, according to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett.

Irving, who has missed the last four games, is expected to decide between having a surgical procedure performed to help alleviate some of the soreness, or continue to manage it with rest.


During the 2015 NBA Finals, Irving suffered a fractured left kneecap injury which was the beginning of Irving’s left knee issues.

While Irving has had soreness of some form during various stretches of play this season, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen him making progress recently.

“That knee is still sore,” Stevens said. “He’s worked really hard to manage it throughout the entire season. He’s had some pretty good days recently. I’m encouraged by the big picture.”

But Stevens has made it clear that he supports Irving getting a second opinion, adding that Irving’s absence is due to the knee being too sore for him to play at a level he’s accustomed to.

“He’s out because of knee soreness, not because we’re choosing to rest him,” Stevens said. “That’s the bottom line. Again, we want him to feel 110 percent. He wants to feel 110 percent. Obviously, we’re fortunate we created a cushion early on in the year with playoffs and everything else. This is not one of those situations where we’re choosing to rest someone; it’s because he has a sore knee.”

    Greg Monroe looks comfortable as bigger offensive focal point

    Greg Monroe looks comfortable as bigger offensive focal point

    BOSTON – Jayson Tatum dropped 23 points, snatched 11 rebounds and Boston’s injury-riddled roster squeaked out a 100-99 upset win over Oklahoma City.

    It was a good game for Tatum, but teammate Marcus Morris wasn’t moved one bit by Tatum’s historical performance.

    “Now it’s not. … I’m not even impressed no more,” Morris said. “It’s to the point where I know what he’s going to bring, I know what he’s capable of. So it’s more like, I expect that now just being around, watching him play day-in and day-out, practicing with him.”

    Teammates agree that the 20-year-old Tatum is growing up right before our eyes.

    “With Jaylen and Kyrie being out, he’s looking to be more aggressive,” said Boston’s Al Horford. “Everybody is going to talk about offense, but on the defensive end he didn’t have an easy matchup, going against Paul George. I felt like he did a great job.”

    Here are five other takeaways from Boston’s 100-99 comeback win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.


    Boston’s second unit is still getting the job done even as injuries rob it of its core group that includes Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier who are now both starters. The Celtics’ new-look second unit was still impactful in Boston’s 100-99 squeaker past the Oklahoma City Thunder. Against the Thunder, Boston’s bench outscored Oklahoma City 35-10.


    The big man continues to come up big for the Boston Celtics off the bench. Injuries have forced other key reserves into the starting lineup which has led to Monroe becoming an even bigger focal point offensively when he’s on the floor. Against the Thunder, he had 17 points on 6-for-12 shooting with six rebounds.


    You never really know what you’re going to get from the Boston Celtics when it comes to rebounding the basketball. Well, Tuesdaynight was the good rebounding Celtics whose ability to control the glass was a huge factor in the victory as Boston out-rebounded Oklahoma City 52-44.


    Remember how Marcus Smart would struggle to make shots, and still play major minutes and still make a meaningful impact? Well, Semi Ojeleye had that kind of game for the Celtics. The 6-foot-6 rookie missed all six of his field goal attempts, but showed some serious versatility against the Thunder with defensive stints on each of Oklahoma City’s Big Three of Carmelo Anthony, Paul George and Russell Westbrook.


    Marcus Morris made the game-winner and Jayson Tatum was as strong on the floor as we’ve ever seen him. But arguably the biggest X-factor in Boston’s win was the play of Larkin. His ability to control the flow of the game, getting his teammates in and out of sets was critical to the win, as was his offense. For the game, Larking had 13 points on 5-for-9 shooting from the field.