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(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Pullett's NBA Picks: March 17-23

Bucks @ Celtics

The Boston Celtics will host the Milwaukee Bucks on March 20. The season series will be decided in a potential Eastern Conference Finals preview. The two teams are tied 1-1 this season and this game will decide the season series. Giannis Antetokounmpo averages 22.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game against the Celtics this season. Boston has held him lower than his season averages in points and rebounds despite a lack of size to guard Antetokounmpo. This is partly due to the Bucks dominating the Celtics, leading by 30 or more points for most of the game. The key to the game for Milwaukee will be how well Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis can score. Lopez and Portis have each been a single-game leading scorer for the Bucks against Boston this season. Lopez’s production comes from the post when Boston uses their bigger bodies to guard Antetokounmpo, while Portis’ production mainly comes off Antetokounmpo's drive and kicks. Boston’s X-Factor will be how well they can attack Milwaukee’s backcourt. Damian Lillard and Malik Beasley have struggled defensively this season. However, most of the Celtics’ offensive production comes from their forwards Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Using guard screens to get the Bucks’ guards to defend Boston’s forwards should force Milwaukee to send double teams at Tatum and Brown. If those two can attack the Bucks’ guards and create for others out of double teams, they should win. 

Boston 115, Milwaukee 104

Player of the Week: Domantas Sabonis

Domantas Sabonis has been one of the most dominant players in the league this season, despite being snubbed from the all-star game. Sabonis is averaging 19 points, 15 rebounds, and nine assists per game since the all-star break. Sabonis and the Sacramento Kings will match up against the Memphis Grizzlies, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards, and Orlando Magic this week. All of these teams struggle at the center position, which could lead to an uptick in production for Sabonis. His points and rebounds should go up due to this, while his playmaking abilities may not be shown because he will dominate the post. However, Sabonis’ playmaking could be crucial for Sacramento if opposing teams send double teams to prevent him from dominating. Sabonis should lead the Kings to four wins this week while putting up phenomenal stats.

Team of the Week: Celtics

The Boston Celtics could win all four games this week, as they play against the Detroit Pistons twice, the Washington Wizards, and Milwaukee Bucks. Their toughest opponent is the Bucks, who defeated them by 32. However, they defeated Milwaukee at home earlier this season and have the best record at home this season. The Celtics should also beat the Wizards and Pistons, as Boston has the best record in the NBA, while Washington and Detroit have the worst two records. This week could serve as a time for the Celtics to rest or try new lineups in preparation for their playoff run. 

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