Milwaukee was able to hold on to knock off the Celtics in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead. With that win, both teams have now won on the other’s home court, something that did not happen a single time in the seven-game slugfest that was last year’s matchup.
Boston has some work to be done if they are seriously considering a trip to the conference finals. This could be Kyrie’s last stand in Boston, and nobody would want it to be a losing effort in round two.
Boston is a -1.5 point favorite in Game 4, with the over/under set at 221.
The change to bring Nikola Mirotic into the starting lineup has paid dividends for Milwaukee, as they have won each of the past two games with him in there. He shot the ball better, adding 13 points in 29 minutes. Giannis did a great job of getting to the FT line, as the MVP candidate finished with 32-13-8, another masterful performance. Khris Middleton was solid with his 20 points, and a rare off-night from Eric Bledsoe did not do much to trip the team up. George Hill was exceptional with his 21 points, while Pat Connaughton had 14 points and seven boards. Both of them are major keys.
Milwaukee is trying to stay on their high horse and win a third game in a row. How they cover Gordon Hayward and limit the Celtics guards scoring will play a huge role in their success. They cannot expect Hill to consistently score like he did, but as long as they have guys stepping up around Giannis and Middleton, they should be able to rack up wins.
Power In The Paint
Boston shot exceptionally well from the three-point line, hitting 16 of 40 shots from downtown. They shot 30/32 from the foul line and were jump shot extraordinaire. If there is one thing they should be trying to fix for Game 4, it is scoring in the paint. They only had 12 baskets in the restricted area, while allowing the Bucks to make 26. They cannot rely on all of their makes being from so far away. The Bucks’ ability to get easy baskets has separated them quite clearly from their opponents over the past two games. It helped them take control in Game 2.
Surprisingly, Boston has gone away from Aron Baynes in this series. His size, combined with Horford’s efficiency, has all but taken him off the floor. His ability to set hard screens, protect the rim, and dominate on the glass adds a lot for the team. He played only two minutes last game, but when he plays at least 18:35, Boston is 17-2. They have to consider giving him a few more minutes.
Bucks Win, Go Up 3-1
Make sure you bet on Milwaukee! They are going to come away with another win at TD Garden, in what will prove to be a very hard-fought showdown. Giannis is going to score 40.
Free Pick: MIL +1.5
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