The Boston Celtics play host to the Milwaukee Bucks again on Tuesday at 7:00 central. The Celtics came into the series at 55-27, good enough for the 2 seed in the ever-improving Eastern Conference. The Bucks, on the other hand, entered the postseason after capping off a fun season showcasing a surging young core, at 44-38. Boston enters this contest slightly favored, at -2.5
Game 1 was a surprise in some ways. The fact that the Celtics won was not the surprise, rather it was the way things transpired. While many expected Jayson Tatum to be carrying much of the load down the stretch, there were actually 4 Celtics with 20 points or more. Tatum was not a part of this list. Tatum, however, was one of the two Celtics who put up a double-double along with Al Horford, who put up 24 points while pulling down 12 rebounds.
Milwaukee Recipe For Success: Take It To The Rim
The young Bucks made lots of mistakes in game 1, with turning the ball over, not boxing out, and several key offensive fouls just some of those mistakes. No every noticeable mistake was that they, a team that shot only 36% from 3 on the season, seemed to rely on well-timed outside shots to keep themselves in the game. Even though this was true, when Milwaukee did drive to the hoop, Boston did foul them. This isn’t even mentioning the loose ball and offensive fouls that the Celtics committed.
If Milwaukee wants to succeed, they will have to drive to the rim at every opportunity, and let the open outside shots flow from that. Along with this, the Bucks’ defense seemed lost when they were needed most when the game was nearing its end. Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum seemed to get whatever they wanted. The Bucks will have to find a way to contest the outside shots, while also clogging the lane.
Celtics: Give the Ball to Al
As the game progressed, Terry Rozier played way over his head. Throughout the season, the backup point guard averaged 11.3 points per game. On Sunday, he put up 23. Marcus Morris averaged 13.6 points per game during the season, yet he scored 21 on Sunday. Then there was Al Horford, who put up 25, hitting clutch free throw after clutch free throw, helping Boston weather the Milwaukee storm. The fact is that Boston got huge performances from their depleted team, and still had to go to overtime for the victory.
Milwaukee will certainly have to key in on Boston’s guards to try to stop another breakout performance from a member of the Celtic backcourt. Boston will need to give the ball to Al Horford and let him go to work in the paint.
Bucks Top Celtics
Boston’s guards will overshoot the ball, and I see them turning it over a fair amount as well. The Bucks, however, will learn from game 1. Giannis Antetokounpo will take the ball to the hoop, as the only means of stopping his long strides seems to be fouling him. After the fouls build up, watch out. Milwaukee will live at the line as much as they live on the fast break on Tuesday. Horford’s timely free throw shooting might have thwarted me last game, but I still say take the Milwaukee Bucks at +2 1/2.
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