One of the most hilarious parts of the Milwaukee Bucks dumping the laundry basket upon the Boston Celtics’ head in Game One is how strange of a place it feels to be as a Bucks fan. Normally, we’re the ones reeling from a Game One debacle, wondering how we’ll pick up the pieces and hoping/praying that the team will respond in-kind. Now, the Freak is on the other foot, and Celtics fans are hoping the team will fight back in Game Two while we’re banking on the Bucks carrying the same energy from tip. An unfamiliar place, but a welcome one.
Where We’re At
I’m so glad we only have one day in between contests here, and I’m already dreading the lengthy layoff before Game Three. There’s just so many ways the Playoffs screw with your head, talking you into and out of narratives within the hour seemingly. From a Milwaukee perspective, you have to feel strong about how you came out and dominated the Celtics defensively, forcing them into the precise gameplan you envisioned and executing it to a T. Holding Boston to nearly the fewest two-point makes in Playoff history is quite the feat, and you have to know they’ll come out trying to find different shots this time around. The interesting part of that is whether they’ll be able to find significantly better shots.
They had a decent chunk of open threes, but that’s also Milwaukee’s M.O. I don’t anticipate Bud to deviate his strategy, and if Boston wants to take more at the rim or from midrange, I think the Bucks would welcome Tatum and Brown trying to force it over Holiday, Matthews and Giannis. I’d expect the Celts to run more pick-and-roll, probably even higher on the floor so that Tatum can try to walk into deep triples. Additionally, I’m sure Udoka preached getting back in transition, where Milwaukee absolutely feasted with a 27-6 points off turnover advantage. That’ll probably even out some, but the Celts were a bottom five points per play team in transition all year, and bottom ten in terms of frequency, per Cleaning The Glass. There is room for improvement from their abysmal performance, and some regression due for Milwaukee, but enough to overcome whatever number of easy shots at the rim Giannis is likely to hit here? We’ll have to see.
For as much as the Bucks looked pretty comfortable offensively, they didn’t perform all that well in the aggregate with a 101 offensive rating. I think Giannis has a few more finishes in him this game, and Brook was rarely used as an offensive force when switched against smaller players. There’s still some meat on the bone for the Bucks. Time to gnaw.
I’m not a betting man, but I love watching my friends lose money. The line is Celtics favored by 4.5, which isn’t all that surprising as their the home team.
Injuries were a huge story coming into the series and have continued to be, with Marcus Smart looking hobbled and listed as questionable for Game Two with a quad contusion. It seems likely he’ll play though.
Ime Udoka said Marcus Smart is sore and has a pretty bad quad contusion. He’ll be listed as questionable tomorrow. His shoulder is “fine,” per Udoka.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) May 2, 2022
Meanwhile, Milwaukee is still obviously without Khris Middleton and Jevon Carter will have to remain in his steady backup role as George Hill remains out.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters that George Hill will be OUT for Game 2, despite being on the floor today.— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) May 2, 2022
Bud: "He was doing a vitamin, doing some individual work. He's doing a little bit more in his vitamins, but not anything significant or any kind of new update."
Player to Watch
Jaylen Brown was listed with a hamstring issue coming into Game One, and I don’t know to what severity it hampered him, but he looked totally out of sorts in the first contest. He had seven turnovers, and while Giannis didn’t guard him all that much it seemed, I thought it was a stroke of brilliance by Bud matching Antetokounmpo on him early. Brown wants to play downhill, which he can’t do against Giannis, and he needs to be run through screens on or off-ball in order to do take advantage of being guarded by the Bucks superstar. That requires A LOT of work, and if he is hobbled at all, it makes it that much harder for him to stay disciplined and keep executing that work in the halfcourt. It also frees up Jrue Holiday to muck up Marcus Smart, who for all his faults, is still a key playmaker for the Celtics two big-man lineups. Brown will need to be better if the Celts have a shot.
Game 2: Against Boston, the Bucks will…
This poll is closed
Win big (by 10 or more points)
Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose big (by 10 or more points)
Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.