The Boston Celtics (7-12, 3-5 home) host the Milwaukee Bucks (3-13, 1-7 away) on Tuesday night at TD Garden. Here's what to watch for:
THIRD TIME'S A CHARM?: The Celtics have (improbably) lost twice to the three-win Bucks this season (including their home-opener last month). What gives? "First of all, like everyone else in this league, Milwaukee has good players who can score," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "The first game, what they did was, they pounded us on the interior. Then we lost our way about midway through the third quarter after playing a great 2 ½ quarters. The other night, I thought we did a pretty darn good job attacking them. We missed a lot of opportunities, but our defense didn’t allow us to stay in that game. That’s what we talked about today. We just didn’t allow ourselves to stay in the game. And when you have a really good shooting night, you’re supposed to win. But really good teams have a change to win even when they don’t have a good shooting night."
IN THE ZONE: Jared Sullinger said the Bucks have been good at junking it up against Boston, finding ways to disrupt its momentum by throwing a zone curveball at the Celtics. According to Synergy Sports data, the Bucks have the 18th ranked defense in the league based on points allowed per possession, but their zone defense ranks second in the NBA. "I think they just break our rhythm really well," said Sullinger. "Sad but true. We get a couple guys rolling, then they throw a 2-3 [zone] at us. They throw a couple junk defenses at us, and it kinda catches us off guard and, the plays that actually work for us, we can’t run them against a 2-3. So I think that’s one thing they do real well and they run. They run really well. They got gazelles out there. I can’t even pronounce his name, the Greek kid [Giannis Antetokounmpo], and John Henson, that kid is really athletic."
WHAT ELSE?: Courtney Lee (sore left knee) expects to be available. He could give Boston's second unit a spark it's missed without him. ... Brandon Bass is averaging a career-best 1.3 blocks per game. "That’s what I do, man," he joked at Monday's practice. ... After playing 19 games over the first 31 days of the season, Boston will play only 12 games in November (nine of which are at home).