Nikola Mirotic expected to make Bucks debut against the Celtics
Thursday night will host the first games to take place since the NBA’s return following the All-Star break. The top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks will challenge the fourth seed Boston Celtics in a primetime TNT matchup. Milwaukee head coach Mike Budenholzer gave Bucks fans a little good news leading up to the game earlier in the day regarding Nikola Mirotic.
Bud confirms Nikola Mirotic will play tonight and will be on a minutes plan. Bucks want to ease him back in and are looking forward to getting him on the court.
— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) February 21, 2019
This will be Mirotic’s debut with the Bucks. He was acquired near the trade deadline and his return to action has been long awaited. Mirotic has missed plenty of time recently, with his last game having taken place on Jan. 23 when he was still playing for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Many around the league feel that Mirotic will be quite the x-factor for a team like Milwaukee, whose system generates a high number of open looks around the perimeter. Nikola, who is an ideal stretch big man, has been playing great this season. In the 32 games he played for New Orleans, he was averaging 16.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.7 three-pointers, and 1.1 assists per game.
While Mirotic will help them bulk up their depth going into the playoffs, the Bucks have been doing just fine without him, earning the best record in the league at 43-14. For the season, Milwaukee has the best defensive rating in the NBA and the fourth best offense, as well. The team has been on a tear, with much of their success a product of the MVP caliber season their superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo, is having.