The Celtics certainly surprised many with their thorough whooping of the Bucks in Game 1. For an untested team like the Bucks, their response would be a huge indicator of their mental fortitude and whether they’re a real team to be reckoned with. With Milwaukee’s resounding 123-102 victory in Game 2, they made it clear that not only do they belong here, but that the Celtics will be given a real run for their money in the rest of this series.

[1] Milwaukee Bucks (1-1) @ [4] Boston Celtics (1-1)

Game 2 was fairly close at halftime. The Bucks held a slim 59-55 lead and couldn’t seem to stop the Celtics from scoring. Milwaukee gave their best Golden State impersonation in the third quarter, dominating the Celtics by a score of 39-18. Their third quarter explosion was good enough to carry them through the end of the game despite 29 points from Boston in the fourth. Their defense stepped up when it mattered most, can Milwaukee repeat that effort again on the road?

Milwaukee

After Game 1, the Bucks were called overrated and overachievers. What really happened was Giannis had a bad game, but so did many of his teammates. When Giannis doesn’t dominate, the Bucks tend to have a hard time winning games. When the Greek Freak is on his game, the Bucks are unstoppable. If you need an example, look no further than his 29 points and 18 free throw attempts. If that doesn’t just scream aggression, nothing else will.

 

  • Giannis was superb and much more dominant compared to Game 1, but the Bucks also got a huge boost from their other stars. Khris Middleton had 28 points and 7 rebounds, while Eric Bledsoe finished with 21 points and 5 assists.
  • The Bucks played great defense when it mattered most. They had 6 steals, 4 blocks, and outrebounded Boston 53-45. The Celtics also shot below 40% as a team.
  • Milwaukee shot the 3 a lot in Game 2, but they also made it a lot. They went 20-47 (42.6%), good for a +30 advantage right there alone.
  • Malcolm Brogdon is still out for Game 3 despite rumors he may be available to play.

Boston

The Celtics were sharp and precise the first game, lead by great play from Kyrie, Horford, and Brown. The second game was a different story for Kyrie, as he really struggled to hit anything from the floor. Brown and Horford were solid again, but that wasn’t enough to make up for Jayson Tatum’s distinct absence from this series. Through 2 games now, Tatum has collected a total of 9 points on 24% shooting. That spells disaster for the 2nd year forward that averaged 18.5 points in last year’s playoffs.

 

  • The Celtics were pretty weak offensively despite putting up 102 points in Game 2. They went 34-86 (39.5%) form the field, although did manage to finish 10-28 (35.7%) from beyond the arc. They had just 19 assists as a team and finished with 13 turnovers.
  • Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, and Gordon Hayward were all ice cold last game. They combined for a meager 19 points on 7-33 shooting. 17 from Morris, 16 from Brown, and 15 from Horford were all that was keeping them afloat before the Bucks took over.
  • Does Boston need a new way to defend Giannis? In Game 1, he shot 7-21 and took 10 free throws, but in Game 2 he shot 7-15 and took an incredible 18 free throws.
  • Marcus Smart is also out tonight, although he has played contact one-on-one recently.

Pick: Milwaukee Bucks +2.0

Yes, the Boston Celtics were phenomenal in Game 1, and gave a clear reason why many expected this team to reach the Eastern Conference Finals again this year. They went into Milwaukee and stole Game 1 against a team that lost only 8 times on their home court during the regular season. Not only did they win, but they stomped en route to their 112-90 victory. Milwaukee took that hit in stride, responding with a haymaker of their own. Now that both teams are settled we have a real series on our hands. Tonight’s game will likely indicate who wins the series, making it the most important one so far. Your best bet is on Milwaukee to take this one on the road to lead 2-1.

 

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