Welcome back to the Brew Hoop Round Table, where we ask that everybody use coasters and please don’t feed the pugs from the table, thanks. Today, on the precipice of Game Six in Milwaukee, we look back at the Playoff series so far and what to expect in the final game(s) against the Boston Celtics.
How has this series played out relative to your expectations?
Adam: I went with Celtics in six, so in terms of results, it’s not swaying too far from what I presumed. How this series shifted though, on the broad back of Playoff Thon Maker’s resurgence was entirely unexpected. What talent advantages Milwaukee has have been mitigated by smart adjustments by Brad Stevens and disappearing play by guys who aren’t playing up to snuff (see: Bledsoe, Eric).
Kyle: I initially said Celtics in six but then Milwaukee went and won game three and four and had me feeling confident and adjust to Bucks in six. It’s been a tale of two cities as Milwaukee looks dominant and engaged at home, while unable to do anything in Boston. Prunty hasn’t been outcoached by Stevens as much as I expected, other than game five, while Khris Middleton has been fantastic. It’s a shame that some players fail to show up, cough Eric Bledsoe, Jabari Parker game one and two, Tony Snell in Boston cough.
Greg: I had Celtics in seven and so far this series has played out how I thought it would. If I had to nitpick my expectations I would say that I thought this would play out like the Toronto series last year with the Bucks taking Game One but dropping Game Four. Something that has not lived up to my expectation is Eric Bledsoe getting outplayed by Terry Rozier.
What adjustments do you expect from Joe Prunty and staff for Game Six?
Adam: Boston downsized their starting lineup, axing Greg Monroe and only giving Aron Baynes 10 minutes in Game 5. In turn, Prunty let Giannis roam at center for 15 minutes. I think Prunty is too stubborn to go away from Zeller completely, but I expect a little more Center Giannis with guys like Snell and Brogdon out there to counter Boston’s wing-heavy lineups.
Kyle: I can see Thon Maker inserted into the starting lineup and maybe don’t let Giannis sit for 7 minutes in the second quarter while playing him the whole second half.
Greg: I expect that the rotations will get switched up and will not feature Giannis riding the pine for more than five consecutive game minutes.
Giannis and Khris have carried this team so far, who do you expect to step up for the rest of this series?
Adam: I ride hard for Tony Snell. This is a guy who came up huge with a bunch of big 3-point makes in last year’s playoff series against Toronto. He may be struggling from the field thus far, but his record speaks for itself shooting 40% from deep all year. Eventually, those percentages will swing his way. He’s certainly limited and is losing minutes to Malcolm Brogdon and Shabazz Muhammad now, but Prunty needs a guy who can consistently knock down outside shots. Snell hasn’t so far, but I think he’ll play a big bit part in the impending games.
Kyle: I don’t know why Tony Snell can’t hit a shot in Boston but I think he can rebound in game six. I think Thon is going to be the player that steps up. The home crowd gives him an energy and he has been showing more physicality that I’ve ever seen from him.
Greg: Malcolm Brogdon has shown he has some big brass ones with his Game 1 and Game 4 threes and can slot in comfortably to be the third option down the stretch. I trust him with the ball infinitely more than I do Bledsoe.
This is a safe space, please express your frustrations with one Eric Bledsoe in the space below.
Adam: His attitude, generally mercurial during the season as well, has been just as frustrating as his harmful play. He begged to get out of Phoenix, presumably to finally make his way back to the Playoffs. When he finally gets to that stage, he plays selfishly, eschewing teammates and the balanced, effective play that marked his final few months of the season. His sudden flip switch is troubling, particularly for a franchise that needs to determine his future for the team with no real Playoff experience to speak of beyond this irksome series.
Kyle: (see game 5 post game periscope, also)
Greg: [deep sigh]
Predictions for the rest of this series?
Adam: I think Milwaukee can nab Game Six behind the strength of their home crowd, although Game Sixes in the Bradley Center certainly haven’t been kind to them in recent Playoff series. However, I think the Bucks’ role players just won’t play well enough in Boston and Brad Stevens will be able to wring another narrow series win out of his team.
Kyle: I don’t know any more, it would be on brand for the Bucks to end their tenure in the Bradley Center losing a game six. But for I would like to think the Bucks can’t be as poor offensively as they were in game five so I’ll pick them to win game six but fall to the Celtics in 7
Greg: The Bucks take Game Six in a game that is similar to Game Four and head into Game Seven amped up. They channel that energy into a sub-eight point half time lead and go into the fourth quarter up by a bucket or two. Then something bogus will happen around the 10 minute mark in a tie game. There will be a shoving match and/or heated words exchanged in front of the Bucks bench which leads to technical fouls assessed to one Bucks player on the court and two Bucks players on the bench while only one Boston player is T-ed up. With the crowd breathing momentum into the Celtics, they refuse to miss a single shot from the nine-to-five minute marks and the Bucks begin infighting due to failed defensive switching and general apathy. The meltdown leads to a double digit Celtics win and a summer of drama in Milwaukee.