Milwaukee Bucks (0-1) vs. Boston Celtics (1-0)
Where and when: TD Bank Arena, Boston, Massachusetts, Tuesday 8:05 pm EST
The 7th seeded Milwaukee Bucks will return to TD Bank Arena on Tuesday night for game 2 of a playoff series against the 2nd seeded Boston Celtics at 8:05 pm EST. In game 1 on Sunday, the Celtics needed overtime in which to dispose of the Bucks by a score of 113-107. For the game, the Bucks shot 48.2% from the field and 38.1% from 3-point range (8-21) while the Celtics shot a mere 41.5% from the field and 42.3% from the 3-point arc for the night. The Celtics also outrebounded the Bucks by a slim margin (45-42) while they only committed 15 turnovers compared to 20 for Milwaukee. Boston cashed in on the spread as 4-point favorites where the over was the play in that the total was set at 200 points for the game.
Milwaukee Rallies, Yet, Comes Up Short
Despite a Bucks rally in the 2nd and 4th quarter of game 1, they were not able to seal the deal in overtime as they were outscored 14-8 to suffer the 113-107 road loss. Milwaukee could have gotten rattled at several points throughout the game, however, as they have shown all season, they were very resilient and continued to keep the game tight until the end. This toughness can certainly be something that they can use and build upon for the next matchup on Tuesday. For Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 35 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 assists in the loss. Also, Kris Middleton put up 31 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists while Malcolm Brogdon chipped in 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists, respectively. Eric Bledsoe also chipped in 9 points and 4 assists in the losing effort. Now down 0-1, the Bucks certainly need to continue their stellar shooting while also decreasing the number of turnovers from game 1 to have a decent chance at winning game 2.
Aside from Giannis Antetokounmpo (26.9 ppg, 10 rebs, 4.8 ass), Middleton (20.1 ppg, 5.2 rebs), and Eric Bledsoe (17.8 ppg, 3.9 rebs, 5.1 ass) being the leading scorers and playmakers for the Bucks this season, Malcolm Brogdon, Jabari Parker, and John Henson have also been pivotal the Bucks’ success all season averaging 13 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists, 12.6 points and 4.9 rebounds, along with 8.8 points and 6.8 rebounds, respectively.
Celtics Survive Game 1
With 5 players scoring in double-digits, the Celtics certainly had their chances to open things up at various points throughout the game. However, the Bucks were very efficient offensively and prevented Boston from building upon their lead both early in the 1st as well as in the 3rd quarter. For the game, Boston was very active on the offensive boards (11) compared to the Bucks (5), while shooting 88.9% from the free throw line for the game. Al Horford (24 points, 12 rebs, 4 ass) and Terry Rozier (23 points, 3, rebs, 4 ass) led Boston’s offensive attack in game 1 while Marcus Morris and Jaylen Brown chipped in 21 and 20 points, respectively. Furthermore, Jayson Tatum chipped in 19 points in the game 1 victory at TD Bank Arena. The Celtics look to not only continue their work on the boards in game 2, but, to also build upon their ability to shoot the 3-pointer as well.
For the year, the Boston possesses a host of double-digit scorers that have consistently contributed to the offense this season. Without Kyrie Irving in the lineup, Jaylen Brown (14.5 ppg, 4.9 rebs), and Jayson Tatum (13.9 ppg, 5 rebs) are the leading scorers for Boston; However, Marcus Morris (13.6 ppg, 5.4 rebs), Al Horford (12.9 ppg, 7.4 rebs, 4.7 ass), and Terry Rozier (11.2 ppg, 4.7 rebs) are also pivotal to the Celtics offensive attack. Marcus Smart also chips in 10.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game, respectively.
- The Bucks are 1-4 ATS in last 5 games versus Celtics
- The Over is 7-0 in Bucks last 7 games following a SU loss
- The Over is 4-0 in Bucks last 4 games after allowing more than 125 points in previous games
- The Celtics are 4-1 ATS in last 5 games versus Bucks
- The Celtics are 4-0 ATS in last 4 Conference Quarterfinals games
- The Over is 4-0 in Celtics last 4 overall
I am not surprised at how strong the Bucks performed on Sunday. In fact, the Bucks won 2 games against the Celtics this season already, one of which was at home while the other being at TD Bank in Boston. Amazingly enough, when one analyzes this game, they would conclude that this game should have been won by the Bucks were it not for some costly turnovers along with some defensive lapses and terrible shots in the latter minutes of overtime. So, now with the early playoff jitters for both teams out of the way, this is where the series will be even more interesting. In all, I will have to go against the trends and pick the Bucks to lick their wounds, go back to basics which includes a tough and active defense along with pushing the pace on offense, and battle for 48 minutes in game 2 in which to get the hard-fought victory to tie the series in Boston on Tuesday. Many felt that after the season-ending loss to Philly was a bad sign for the Bucks, however, from this game 1 performance, I am sure that they have gained much-needed confidence in their ability to play well on the road in the playoffs against a dangerous Boston team. In other words, pick the Bucks and the points for game 2.