Damian Lillard's move from the Portland Trail Blazers to the Milwaukee Bucks was largely viewed as the biggest move of the offseason, but you could argue that the Boston Celtics have benefitted just as much from that decision. The Eastern Conference's top team responded to Milwaukee's play by acquiring Jrue Holiday from Portland to build a defensive powerhouse. Holiday will face his last team for the first time this season on Wednesday and isn't bitter about his unexpected departure.
"I think that they got what they wanted, so I can't be mad at that," Holiday told reporters. "A warning would've been cool, but other than that I'm in the best place that I can be to compete against them."
Holiday is averaging just 12.8 points per game with Boston, but he's also snaring a career-high 7.4 boards per contest while helping spearhead one of the league's top defenses. He and Derrick White both made an All-Defensive team last season and the duo has contributed heavily to the Celtics forking up 106.6 points per game to opposing teams. Only the New York Knicks and Minnesota Timberwolves have better-scoring defenses so far.
Milwaukee, on the other hand, has dealt with a ton of defensive inconsistency since swapping out Holiday for Lillard. The Bucks are giving up the eighth-most points per game despite two-time Defensive Player of the Year Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez's efforts. Khris Middleton's is a capable defender himself but is averaging just 19.3 minutes per game following an injury-riddled 2022-23. He logged a season-high 23 minutes in his last outing against the Washington Wizards, but a full workload could be a while away.
Boston (11-3) will host Milwaukee (10-4) at TD Garden and the result of the matchup will give both teams a good idea about how they stack up against one another.