Celtics

Celtics

Milwaukee Bucks All-Star big man Giannis Antetokounmpo practiced with the team Wednesday and has been cleared to return to game action in advance of Thursday night’s showdown with the Boston Celtics, according to the team.

Antetokounmpo sat out Monday’s game against the Toronto Raptors after being placed in the league’s concussion protocol for a hit he took in Saturday’s game against the Orlando Magic.

"I passed all the tests and feel great,” Antetokounmpo told reporters after Wednesday's practice.

The Bucks didn’t miss a beat without Antetokounmpo during a showdown of unbeatens against the Kawhi-less Raptors on Monday, improving to an NBA-best 7-0 on the season. 

Milwaukee is the only undefeated team remaining in the league.

The Celtics announced Wednesday that swingman Jaylen Brown is questionable for Thursday’s game due to a sore right foot. The team is already down a body with backup big man Daniel Theis sidelined with a right plantar fascia tear.

Brown, who struggled a bit early in the season, seemed to be finding his rhythm the last two games against the Pistons. Brown scored 19 points in Detroit in Saturday then added 14 more on Tuesday night, providing a needed second-half scoring jolt as Boston improved to 5-2.

The Celtics and Bucks engaged in a highly entertaining seven-game series in the opening round of the 2018 NBA playoffs. A shorthanded Boston squad, playing without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, got a late-series jolt with the return of Marcus Smart and edged Milwaukee in a hard-fought series. The matchup was also notable for the war of words engaged in by Terry Rozier and Eric Bledsoe, which helped make “Scary Terry” a national phenomenon.

During the offseason, the Bucks hired former Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer, replacing Joe Prunty.

Antetokounmpo has been phenomenal early in the 2018-19 season, averaging 25 points, 14.2 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 1.7 blocks over just 30.7 minutes per game. 

The Bucks rank second in the NBA in defensive rating allowing 98.2 points per 100 possessions. Only the Celtics are better at 96.2. The difference so far? Boston ranks 28th in the NBA in offensive rating at 100.8 while the Bucks are 6th at 113.1.

Milwaukee’s net rating of plus-14.8 is tops in the league, ahead of even the Golden State Warriors (plus-13.6). Boston ranks 10th overall in net rating at plus-4.6.

 

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