NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks
USATSI

Two Eastern Conference foes will go head-to-head when the Milwaukee Bucks host the Boston Celtics Saturday on NBA Christmas Day. The Bucks may be the defending champions, but the Celtics have gotten the best of them so far this season. The Christmas matinee will be the third time that the two teams have met already this season, and the Celtics won both of the previous meetings. The two teams will also meet again in April. 

This matchup is especially intriguing because it could easily serve as a playoff preview, as there's a chance these two teams could end up facing off down the road. There's still a lot of basketball left to be played before it's time to think about playoff matchups, though. In the meantime, here's everything you need to know about the matinee matchup between Boston and Milwaukee. 

Viewing information

  • Date: Saturday, Dec. 25 | 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: Fiserv Forum -- Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • TV: ABC | Live stream: WatchESPN 
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Odds: Bucks -7 | Over/Under: 220.5 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Featured Game | Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics

Storylines

Celtics: With a new head coach and a revamped roster, the season up to this point has been all about developing an identity for Boston. That still appears to be a work in progress, as the Celtics are a middle-of-the-road team, both offensively and defensively. All-Star forwards Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are both having solid seasons, but the task facing Boston's front office remains the same: construct a championship-caliber team around that duo. So far this season, the Celtics haven't looked like a legitimate contender. 

Bucks: The Bucks are coming off their first title in 50 years, and though they've had to battle injury issues early this season (what team hasn't?) they're still arguably the top team in the conference -- or the whole league -- when at full strength. Giannis Antetokounmpo cleared protocols, and is expected to be available Saturday. How much he plays is hard to say. The Bucks' main goal moving forward is to get -- and stay -- healthy in time for postseason play so that they are in the best possible position to defend their title. 

Prediction

The Celtics have had the Bucks' number so far this season, but that will change on Christmas Day. The Celtics are just 7-10 on the road this season, and the Bucks (11-5 at home) have been playing better basketball over the past couple of weeks -- they've gone 6-4 over their last 10 games, compared to the Celtics, who have gone 4-6. It will clearly help is Milwaukee was at full strength and with its superstar available Saturday. Still, we're siding with the defending champs at home. Pick: Bucks -7