for this game

Bucks-Celtics Preview

Dec 7, 2009 - 8:11 PM By ANTHONY GIORNALISTA STATS Senior Writer

Milwaukee (9-10) at Boston (16-4), 7:30 p.m. EDT

The Boston Celtics would like to clean up their play at home before setting out on yet another road trip. A matchup with the struggling Milwaukee Bucks may help their cause.

Winners of seven in a row, the Celtics look to deal the Bucks their sixth straight road defeat Tuesday night.

Boston (16-4) completed a four-game trip with a 105-87 win over Oklahoma City on Friday night. The Celtics, who improved to 9-1 on the road, are returning to the TD Garden to face the Bucks (9-10) before playing their next three on the road.

"It's really strange when you play these games on the road, you come home for one game - I guess to unpack and repack - and then you go right back out there," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.

Though Boston boasts its longest winning streak of the season, it is 4-3 at home since winning its first three games there.

Boston has a good opportunity to sharpen its play at the TD Garden. Milwaukee has allowed an average of 106.2 points in losing five straight on the road, where it is 2-7.

The Celtics have outscored the Bucks by an average of 16.6 points in winning three straight at home against them, and won two of the teams' three meetings overall last season.

But Boston guard Ray Allen, who started his career with Milwaukee, has been held to 11 points or fewer in four of five games against his former team. The Celtics didn't need much scoring from Allen versus the Thunder, either, getting 11 points from the veteran guard.

Allen's 15.6 points per game is his lowest average since averaging 13.4 as a rookie in 1996-97. His teammates, though, are giving him plenty of support, and six other Celtics reached double figures in scoring against Oklahoma City.

Boston is shooting 54.3 percent over its last five games.

"Almost there," point guard Rajon Rondo said when asked if the Celtics were meeting their expectations. "Not complete, but we're putting (it) together. It's not just one quarter now. We're putting a couple quarters together. We're not quite to 48 minutes but we're almost there."

Rondo will be matched up with outstanding Bucks rookie Brandon Jennings, who is averaging 21.3 points, 5.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds while shooting 44.8 percent 3-point range.

Jennings' 24 points, however, weren't enough to help Milwaukee overcome a 101-86 loss to Cleveland on Sunday. The Bucks, who let the Cavaliers reel off 29 straight points in the first half, shot 37.6 percent and went 4 for 20 from beyond the arc.

"If you have those droughts where you're not able to score, you've got to find a way to at least hang in the game," said Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles, whose team has given up 100 points or more in seven of its last eight games.

After starting 8-3, the Bucks have slipped below .500 for the first time since opening the season with defeats in two of their first three games.

Michael Redd's injury problems certainly haven't helped. The veteran guard has missed five straight games with a sore left ankle, and is listed as day to day.