The Milwaukee Bucks will look to close out the series at home against the Boston Celtics this Saturday. Will that be the case in Game 6? Or, will the Celtics force Game 7?
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Away: Boston Celtics (2-3/1-1 Away)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Marcus Smart
- SG: Jaylen Brown
- SF: Jayson Tatum
- PF: Al Horford
- C: Robert Williams III (questionable)
It appears that Milwaukee’s hope of beating the Celtics in the series is directly tied to whether Giannis Antetokounmpo would score 40 points a game, which he did in Game 5’s 110-107 Bucks win. Keeping Antetokounmpo out of the equation has proven to be a tough task – as expected – but Boston should have an easier time preventing Milwaukee from bullying them on the glass. In Game 5, the Bucks lost the rebounding battle, 49-36.
Al Horford and Jayson Tatum have got to be more aggressive in that area, while a potential return to action by big man Robert Williams would certainly help the Celtics in protecting the paint and rebounding. Williams missed Game 5 with soreness in his left knee and is currently considered questionable for Game 6. Opponents are shooting 6.8% worse from within 6 feet of the basket when Williams is on the floor in the playoffs. The Celtics are 6-0-1 ATS in their last 7 games where they were road underdogs.
Home: Milwaukee Bucks (3-2/1-1 Home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Jrue Holiday
- SG: Wesley Matthews
- SF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
- PF: Bobby Portis
- C: Brook Lopez
Mike Budenholzer’s decision to let Bobby Portis loose again in Game 5 paid off big time for the Bucks. Portis played in just 15 minutes in Milwaukee’s 116-108 loss at home in Game 4 but was given 28 minutes of floor duty the following game, resulting in a double-double production of 14 points and 15 rebounds from the former Arkansas Razorback. And then, of course, there was the defensive brilliance of Jrue Holiday that was so crucial in Milwaukee’s incredible comeback in the last game. Holiday is averaging 21.8 points, albeit on a subpar 34.5 FG%.
However, he’s been a big asset defensively, making the right reads and timely stops in key situations. At the end of the day, the Bucks will go as far as where Antetokounmpo takes them, and so far in the series, it’s clear why Milwaukee is up through five games in the series. Over that span, Antetokounmpo has averaged 33.6 points, 12.6 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 1.2 blocks. The Bucks enter Game 6 with a 3-1-1 ATS record in their last five games as a favorite.
Spread: The Bucks cover (-1.5).
Over/Under: The Under (211.0) hits.