Apr 26 2012; Boston, MA USA; Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (9) returns the ball against Milwaukee Bucks power forward Ekpe Udoh (13) in the second quarter at the TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

Celtics Face Bucks In Home Opener


The Celtics look to start fresh after the 120-107 loss to the Miami Heat on opening night. Last season, Boston went 24-9 at the TD Garden, and throughout the Big Three era, they’ve had a lot of success on their home court. Tonight they take on the Milwaukee Bucks who come into town for their season opener. Unfortunately for them, they have to take on a Celtics team that’s looking to rebound after the disappointing loss Tuesday night.

Milwaukee comes into this season with a new look. While they did acquire Monte Ellis last season, he didn’t have much time to get acclimated into the system. Seeing that there is a full season of 82 games, he’s going to come in with more confidence and be a leader for this Milwaukee Bucks team. Ellis, alongside Brandon Jennings, is, as Rajon Rondo put it, ‘going to be scrappy on the defense.’  Their quickness will give opponents matchup problems, but it’s not just on the defense that Ellis and Jennings will cause mayhem, their offensive ability will no doubt be the anchor for Milwaukee’s offense.

It’s not just the backcourt that has improved, Milwaukee’s front court got better. With Ersan Ilyasova, Drew Gooden, Samuel Dalembert, and rookie John Henson, there is now playoff potential with this team. The Bucks fought until the end of the season for the last playoff spot a year ago, and if they can remain healthy, Milwaukee could squeeze into the 7th or 8th seed heading into the postseason.

Looking at this game from the Celtics point of view, this is a great opportunity to get on a positive track and accumulate wins early in the season. This is the type of game that Boston needs to come out strong early and establish themselves. In the last few season, the Celtics have been known to coast when playing teams that aren’t necessarily all that good. With tonight be the home opener, and Boston having a great mindset heading into the game, I think the Celtics get the victory winning by double-digits.

Things To Look For During the Game

In the loss against Miami, Boston played lackluster defense, didn’t rotate off of screens, and got beaten in the pick and roll game. Tonight they have to do a lot better. Though Milwaukee isn’t in the same class as the Heat are, this will be a good test to see how Boston has improved, if at all, since Tuesday. Chemistry may have played a big factor in the lack of rotation and help defense, so playing teams like the Bucks is a great chance for the Celtics to become more cohesive as the season wears on.

Bench Production

In Miami Jason Terry and Jeff Green didn’t put up the numbers we were expecting from them. I think nerves and the Heat’s defense contributed to their lack of production, and now being at home with the crowd behind them should kickstart them tonight. The most important component of this year’s Celtics team is their bench. The amount of production they get from Green, Terry, Jared Sullinger, and Leandro Barbosa is vital to the team’s success.

Prediction

As I stated above, I see Boston winning this game by double-digits. Being at the TD Garden with the crowd behind them will give Boston an added boost, and the Celtics seem to play more comfortable on both ends of the court when they’re home. Looking ahead, the Celtics don’t take on a championship contender in the next few games, so tonight is a good opportunity to get into a rhythm early in the season.

 

Tags: Boston Celtics Celtics Home Opener Milwaukee Bucks