Milwaukee Bucks

Friday Game Previews: League-best Bucks host the Celtics; Lakers begin Playoff push by hosting the Rockets

Kyrie Irving and Giannis Antetokounmpo
(Getty Images)

Boston Celtics (37-21) vs Milwaukee Bucks (43-14)

Where to Watch

Date: Friday, Feb. 22

Time: 6:30 AM IST

TV: Sony Ten 1

Location: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI

Game Preview

Milwaukee, the team with the league's best record, is the only franchise to rank in the top 5 for offensive (113.0 - 4th) and defensive rating (103.5 - 1st).

The Bucks have been fueled to their best start in quite a while by their MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo, who's averaging career-highs in points (27.2), rebounds (12.7), assists (6.0) and field-goal percentage (58.1%).

He ranks third in ESPN's PER (30.35) and leads the league in NBA stats' Player Impact Estimate (21.5).

Over the span of one summer, when they appointed Mike Budenholzer as their new head coach, the Bucks have quickly adapted to the new-age NBA. They rank second in the league in 3-pointers made (tied) and attempted (second only to Houston in both categories) while forcing their opponents into the third-most mid-range shots in the league.

Coming to the Celtics, it's been an up-and-down season.

They have struggled to find consistency this year. At one point before the break, they won 10 in 11 games but then lost consecutive games to the LA teams. However, prior to the break, they did register a huge win against revamped Philadelphia 76ers even without Kyrie Irving in the lineup.

With the stretch run coming up, there's no better time for the Celtics to find their on-court chemistry than now.

Despite all their trials and tribulatiosn this season, Boston is one of only three teams (Bucks and the Toronto Raptors) to be in the top 10 of both offensive and defensive ratings in the league.

Game Notes

  • The Bucks have the league's third-best home record in the league having won 23 of their 28 games at the Fiserv Forum.
  • On the other hand, the Celtics have a marginal winning record on the road, having won 14 of their 27 games.
  • Milwaukee is set to surely miss Donte DiVincenzo (Heel) for this game while the duo of Giannis Antetokounmpo (Knee) and Nikola Mirotic (Calf) are said to be game-time decisions.
  • Meanwhile, the Celtics will surely miss Aron Baynes (Foot) while Gordon Hayward (Ankle) is said to be a game-time decision.
  • This is the season series finale with both teams having won a game apiece.

Last Time They Played

Date: Dec. 22, 2018

Score: Bucks 120 - 107 Celtics

Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo - 30 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocks on 8-of-13 shooting.

Celtics: Jaylen Brown - 21 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 assists on 8-of-14 shooting.

Box Score

Houston Rockets (33-24) vs Los Angeles Lakers (28-29)

Where to Watch

Date: Friday, Feb. 22

Time: 9:00 AM IST

TV: Sony Ten 1

Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

Game Preview

Given their record and the mountain they have to climb to make the Playoffs, every game is a must-win for the Lakers right now.

The remaining 25 games must be treated like another season because the team weren't doing great before the break by losing four of their last five games.

LeBron James has mentioned that he has got his Playoff intensity activated for the rest of the season but will it be enough?

The team has among the toughest remaining schedules and it begins by hosting MVP candidate James Harden and a close-to-healthy Houston Rockets.

On the other hand, the Houston Rockets have been one of the best team over the past couple of months and it's all been because of Harden's record-breaking scoring streak.

Their defense this year (25th in defensive rating) is way-off from last season when it was the seventh-best in the league.

But what now looks like a deep roster is slowly but surely getting all of its piece back from injury with the most recent one being their starting center Clint Capela.

Following this game, the Rockets travel to Oakland to take on the defending champions.

Game Notes

  • The Lakers have a 16-12 record at home at the Staples Center.
  • The Rockets have a losing record of 13-15 on the road.
  • The hosts are set to definitely miss Lonzo Ball (Ankle) while the trio of Josh Hart (Knee), Tyson Chandler (Neck), and Mike Muscala (Ankle) are reportedly game-time decisions.
  • Houston, on the other hand, will surely miss recently acquired Iman Shumpert (Knee). The duo of Clint Capela (Thumb) and Austin Rivers (Elbow) are game-time decisions.
  • The Rockets have already clinched the season series with the Lakers having won each of the three previous games.

Last Time They Played

Date: Jan. 20, 2019

Score: Lakers 134 - 138 Rockets

Lakers: Kyle Kuzma - 32 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals on 12-of-19 shooting.

Rockets: James Harden - 48 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals.

Box Score

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