So far so good for the C’s! They raced out to a hot start against the Bucks and were able to hold their lead for most of the game. Home-court has flipped from last year’s matchup, which is an important figure, as the home team went 7-0 in the series last year. Well, Boston has already won a game in Milwaukee, citing significant differences this time around.
There is no immediate pressure on the Bucks to make it all the way to the Finals, but a second-round exit after a 60-win season would be a great disappointment. They had not made it past the first round since 2001, so this marks a monumental step in Bucks history. While they are missing Malcolm Brogdon, they have no excuses to make as Boston is without Marcus Smart.
Milwaukee is a -7.5 point favorite for Game 2, with the over/under set at 220.
Fans of the Celtics could not have asked for better Game 1 results. They won all four quarters, and after Milwaukee cut the deficit to two heading to half, they scored on their first possession of the third quarter, en route to a 36-21 victory for those next 12 minutes.
They limited Milwaukee’s second-chance opportunities, won the battle in the paint, and shot the ball very well from beyond the arc, over 40% as a collective unit. One thing that they will HAVE to do better is getting to the line. They took only eight foul shots, making five.
Gordon Hayward came in and shot 4-4 off the bench in the first half. Kyrie led the way with 26-7-11, his first-ever 25 and 10 game in the playoffs. Jaylen Brown added 19, while Al Horford continued his strong play with 20 points and 11 boards. But his biggest contributions remain in ball-moving and on the defensive end.
Milwaukee, on the other hand, became a bit too reliant on the three-ball, taking eight more than Boston, but making the same number. They shot just 62.5% from the line, with Giannis not doing so well there himself. They are used to dominating in the paint but only made 13 shots inside that area for the entire game. Giannis was “held” to 22 points, even getting a dunk blocked by Al Horford. He also got dunked on by Jaylen Brown, worth adding. Brook Lopez had three points and three boards.
Only two non-Giannis players were in double figures. Khris Middleton added 16 (and 10 boards), while Nikola Mirotic had 13 points in 21 minutes. They will need Mirotic to continue to knock down the jumpers. They need George Hill to be aggressive. And they need Giannis to attack with the rim with reckless abandonment.
Bucks Even Up Series
Make sure you bet MIL -7.5! Boston has a great group, but the Bucks will hand them their first loss of the postseason with their much-improved effort tonight. Giannis will light it up as MIL gets it to 1-1!
Free Pick: MIL -7.5
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