The Milwaukee Bucks struck first in this series, taking Game 1 with a 101-89 win. How will the Boston Celtics respond in Game 2?
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Away: Milwaukee Bucks (1-0/1-0 Away)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Jrue Holiday
- SG: Wesley Matthews
- SF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
- PF: Bobby Portis
- C: Brook Lopez
The Bucks got a taste of Boston’s much-revered defense but got away with a win nonetheless in Game 1 in large part because Giannis Antetokounmpo remained unstoppable. Sure, Antetokounmpo shot just 9/25 from the field but he still posted a trip-dub of 24 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists in 38 minutes. No one’s going to stop the two-time MVP from having massive usage because at the end of the day, the Bucks will go as far as where he takes them.
That being said, Antetokounmpo’s supporting cast – sans Khris Middleton – deserves big praises for keeping Milwaukee afloat. Bobby Portis continues to show up in the playoffs, having scored 14 points with 11 boards in Game 1. Jrue Holiday had 25 points, while Grayson Allen and Pat Connaughton combined for 19 points on 7/14 shooting. And don’t sleep on Milwaukee’s defense, which is holding opponents in the playoffs to just 39.3 FG% and 29.9 3FG%.
Milwaukee has covered the spread in 7 of its last 8 games away from Fiserv Forum.
Home: Boston Celtics (0-1/0-1 Home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Marcus Smart
- SG: Jaylen Brown
- SF: Jayson Tatum
- PF: Al Horford
- C: Robert Williams III
Losing the series opener at home is never a good thing, but the Celtics have tons of reason to be optimistic. For one, most of the issues they had in Game 1 are fixable. Take for example the 18 turnovers they recorded – 7 of which came from Jaylen Brown. While the Bucks’ defense was unforgiving in that game, Boston averaged just 13.7 TOs per contest back in the regular season.
Brown isn’t throwing the ball seven times again and the Bucks aren’t likely to outscore Boston in points on turnovers by 21 in Game 2 after the Celtics make adjustments ahead of Wednesday’s showdown. The Celtics played great defensively in Game 1 as well, limiting Milwaukee to only 41.1 FG% – the Bucks’ worst since shooting 40.5% in Game 1 of the Chicago Bulls series in the first round. Offensively, Jayson Tatum and Brown will have to be more efficient with their shot after shooting a combined 10/31 from the floor in Game 1.
The Celtics are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games overall.
Spread: Boston hits back stronger but the Bucks still cover (+4.5).
Over/Under: Game 2 of this series will hit the Over (215.5).