After a close overtime loss in Game 1 and a blow out loss in Game 2, the Milwaukee Bucks were able to bounce back and dominated the Boston Celtics in Game 3 while a Giannis Antetokounmpo tip-in gave the Bucks a close Game 4 win. The series is now even at 2-2 with Game 5 tonight so we decided to catch up with Bill over at SBNation affiliate Celtics Blog to see their thoughts on the series.
1. What has been your impression of the series so far?
It’s been fun watching these teams feel each other out. After the turnover debacles that determined the first few games, both teams have cleaned up their offenses and seemed to have figured out how they’re going to attack each other and what they’re willing to give up on defense.
2. Who has stood out to you this series for the Celtics and the Bucks?
Obviously for the Celtics, the bright spots have been the maturation of Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum and especially Jaylen Brown. They’ve responded as starters and primary options in the playoffs and that will pay dividends for the rest of the postseason and their careers in Boston. Brown has been really special because all the knocks on him coming out of Cal--the lack of a handle and his jump shot--have been obliterated by his performance at the end of the regular season and in these last four games. For Milwaukee, I was afraid that Joe Prunty would figure out that he needed to start Malcolm Brogdon and Brogdon has responded. That dude is just so solid and I wonder if he can co-exist in a back court with Eric Bledsoe moving forward. I’ve also been impressed with Jabari Parker. He’s always reminded me of Paul Pierce and I’m really happy he’s performing on this stage after all the injuries.
3. Do you see any big adjustments made by either team this series?
Well, the wild card is Marcus Smart. If he plays tonight, all bets are off. He’s not so much an adjustment, but he could go in there and just make a mess of things. For example, I wrote about his defensive effect on Khris Middleton. Now, he could have a negative impact on offense and be a net zero player, but Smart is Smart. Celtics fans will live and die with that guy. Other than Smart, you could see the Celtics go small more often. In Game 4, Stevens went with more Ojeleye (and Marcus Morris) and less Moose Monroe.
4. Which player on the Celtics needs to improve their performance?
Terry Rozier was 3-for-15 from behind the arc in the Bradley Center. In Games 1 and 2, he shot a scorching 7-for-14. That 3 to 6 points per game could swing the outcome of Game 5 and ultimately, the Rozier complexion of the series. I’m not sure if Bucks fans and bloggers have picked up on the folklore surrounding Scary Terry, but it’s real. I hate to say that he has to “improve” his performance, but a more engaged Rozier (with Smart chipping in) could tip the balance.
5. Who wins the series?
At this point, I really don’t know. This series has mirrored so much the Celtics’ regular season. They’ve looked brilliant at times, but during long stretches, their offense has been anemic. And after being the best defensive team in the league, they’re a sieve and the worst of the remaining teams in the playoffs. I should be more confident because they should be up 3-1, but the basketball gods have had a cruel sense of humor this season. I initially said Celtics in 6, but this has been so much. Let’s go the distance and say the Celtics finish this thing off on Saturday in 7.
Be sure to watch Game 5 tonight on either FSWisconsin or NBATV and Game 6 on Thursday. If you want to check out my thoughts on the series, feel free to jump over to CelticsBlog’s website later today. This is becoming an intriguing series with both teams feeling like they should be up 3-1, but let’s hope the Bucks can win the final few games and fulfill the #BucksInSix destiny.