NBA: Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks looking to shake up Eastern Conference
It is another jam-packed week of NBA action with the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks looking to shake things up in the Eastern Conference title race. Here we assess the weekend games and shed light on the big talking points.
Boston Celtics hitting form at just the right time
The Celtics have been flying recently. Having chalked up six wins on the bounce, Brad Stevens’ charges are still in the mix to finish the regular season on top of the Eastern Conference standings. The Philadelphia 76ers are currently leading the way with a 39-17 record. In the Celtics last game they overcame a stubborn Golden State Warriors to keep their winning streak going.
Jayson Tatum led the way for the Celtics, draining 44 points. While his opponent Steph Curry put up a monster 47-point display, the Celtics had enough to get over the line. Even Tatum admitted after the game that it was great to go toe-to-toe with Curry. He said: “Just to earn his respect and get a win on the same night… it was a good night.”
Boston Celtics turn down whopping $70million deal from Indiana Hoosiers
Stevens had the chance to become the highest-paid college basketball coach when he was approached by the Indiana Hoosiers. The Hoosiers were ready to offer a $70million, seven-year contract. However, it wasn’t enough to tempt Stevens, who has previously professed his love for the Celtics. He said: “I’m so grateful to this organization, and to the people here, and for all they’ve done for us.”
Phoenix Suns desperate to bounce back after San Antonio Spurs mauling
At the time of writing, the Suns had come off the back of a 111-85 thrashing at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs. Although currently second in the Western Conference, the Suns have a tricky run of games to navigate. They will play the Bucks and the 76ers before taking on the Celtics, followed by a clash against the Brooklyn Nets 48 hours later. Here are our NBA odds.
Atlanta Hawks developing good knack during games
The Hawks — who take on the Bucks on Sunday evening — have developed a good knack during games. Against the Indiana Pacers, the Hawks finished the fourth quarter strongly. They went on a 13-4 run and prevailed 129-117. Trae Young was devastating for the Hawks as he posted figures of 34 points, 11 assists, and five rebounds.
Milwaukee Bucks facing tough stretch of games
With roughly a month to go until the regular season ends, the Milwaukee Bucks will be pretty happy with how things have transpired. The recent return of Giannis Antetokounmpo has been a welcome boost for the Bucks. They have struggled at times during his six-game absence. In his first game back last week, Giannis notched up 15 points and five rebounds.
Before they face the Hawks, the Bucks have to contend with a clash against the Sun as well as back-to-back games against the 76ers, which will undoubtedly be laden with danger. However, they will need to rectify their defensive issues, as turnovers continued to be their Achilles’ heel, and it plagued them against the Memphis Grizzlies.
New York Knicks still in good shape ahead of Toronto Raptors meeting
At the time of writing, the Knicks were sitting in the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference, with a 31-27 record to date. Over the weekend, the Knicks took out the New Orleans Pelicans 122-112. Julius Randle did the damage as he contributed a double-double of 33 points and 10 assists, while Reggie Bullock provided 15 points.
The Knicks face a Raptors side who signed forward Yuta Watanabe on a standard NBA contract earlier this week. Watanabe has made one start for the Raptors this term, and he recorded a career-high 21 points last week against Orlando Magic. Knicks v Raptors, however, has all the ingredients to be a classic, and it will definitely be worth tuning in for. With the teams racing down the calendar to postseason, these big games can have a huge impact on the playoffs.