- The Milwaukee Bucks will host the Boston Celtics in a battle of the NBA’s top two
- The Bucks and the Celtics split their first two meetings in the 2022-23 NBA season
- Boston defeated Milwaukee on Christmas Day before the Bucks got V-Day revenge
The stage is set for a titanic showdown in the Eastern Conference, with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics locking horns on Thursday night.
Only three games separate the two powerhouse teams in the standings.
A win here could be crucial in determining who will be the top seed in the East.
Sports Brief breaks down their two previous meetings this season ahead of the crunch clash.
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Bucks at Celtics (December 25)
The first meeting between the Bucks and the Celtics this season happened on Christmas Day, with Boston pulling off a resounding 139-118 victory, per ESPN.
The matchup was highly anticipated as it featured the teams with the best records in the NBA.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown wreaked havoc on the Bucks’ defense, combining for 70 points in the win.
Tatum scored 41 points, 20 of which came in the pivotal third quarter. Boston pulled away during that period, turning a one-point lead into a 100-86 advantage.
Brown applied the finishing touches to the win, scoring 13 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter. Boston outscored Milwaukee 77-57 in the second half. With the victory, the Celtics extended their lead atop the standings to 1.5 games.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 27 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the loss. He shot 9 of 22 from the field. Jrue Holiday also contributed, finishing with 23 points, six rebounds, and seven assists.
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Celtics at Bucks (February 14)
Holiday then starred for the Bucks in their second meeting with the Celtics this season, matching a career-high 40 points in Milwaukee’s 131-125 win.
He drained a go-ahead 3-pointer with 25.2 seconds remaining in overtime to hand the Bucks the all-important victory. Holiday was sizzling from beyond the arc, knocking down eight of his 12 3-point attempts.
One of those treys came from behind midcourt to beat the third-quarter buzzer. He also had seven assists, five rebounds, and three steals in 43 minutes of action.
Antetokounmpo nearly had a triple-double, recording 36 points, 13 rebounds, and nine assists. Khris Middleton and Grayson Allen were the other Bucks to score in double figures, chipping in 16 and 13 points, respectively.
The win did not come easy for the Bucks, as the shorthanded Celtics tested them. Boston played without both its All-Stars - Brown (facial fracture) and Tatum (non-COVID illness) - as well as Al Horford (swelling in right knee) and Marcus Smart (sprained right ankle).
The Celtics still nearly recorded the massive upset, enjoying a five-point lead with two minutes left in overtime. Milwaukee finished strongly though, scoring the game’s final seven points to steal the win.
The win was significant for the Bucks as they evened the season series with the Celtics at one game apiece.
That means the winner of Thursday’s contest will own the tiebreaker in case Boston and Milwaukee finish with similar records at the end of the regular season.
Milwaukee's remaining games
Sports Brief recently reported on the Bucks’ remaining schedule in this NBA season.
Milwaukee will face the 76ers, the Wizards, the Bulls, the Grizzlies, and the Raptors.
Three of those five remaining games will take place at the Bucks' home stadium.