Entering this series the Boston Celtics looked like clear favorite against the Milwaukee Bucks based of their first-round sweep of the Kevin Durant-led Brooklyn Nets, and because Milwaukee announced it would be without Khris Middleton for the entirety of the series. Though the Bucks fared incredibly well without Middleton in their first-round matchup against the Bulls, the Celtics are a different beast, one that has at times looked like the best team in the East.
But when Milwaukee worked up a 17-point lead on the road in Game 1, those assumptions about how this series would go quickly changed, ad the Bucks continue to prove that perhaps missing Middleton isn't that big of a deal. The Bucks already took care of the hard part, winning at least of the first two games on the road, now it's up to the Celtics to win the next game otherwise they could be heading into a dangerous situation when this series shifts back to Milwaukee.
Ahead of Game 2 between the Celtics and the Bucks here's everything you need to know.
(2) Boston Celtics vs. (3) Milwaukee Bucks
- When: Tuesday, May 3 | 7 p.m. ET
- Where: TD Garden -- Boston
- TV: TNT | Live stream: TNT app
- Odds: BOS -190; MIL +160; O/U 215 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Celtics: Boston quickly realized that the Bucks aren't the Nets and as a result dropped Game 1 of the series. The biggest adjustment the C's need to address in Game 2 is doing a better job of containing everyone not named Giannis. While Boston will show several different defensive schemes against Antetokounmpo, it's incredibly difficult to slow him down, so if that doesn't work the Celtics need to shift focus to shutting down the likes of Jrue Holiday, Bobby Portis and Grayson Allen. That trio combined for 51 points, as they feasted off the 12 assists Giannis dished out in Game 1. Boston will have to live with Giannis getting his numbers, but it won't win many games if Holiday gets loose for 25 points and Portis tacks on 15 of his own.
Bucks: Milwaukee has to be pretty happy with how well the team played on both ends of the floor in Game 1. While Tatum put up 21 points and six assists, Jaylen Brown struggled to get anything going, shooting just 4 of 13 from the field. He likely won't have many more games like that one, so the Bucks will have to ensure that they don't get torched by both Tatum and Brown going forward. The Bucks maintained their dominance on the glass, and capitalized on Boston's turnovers, generating 27 points off the Celtics giveaways. Getting out in transition is an area the Bucks excel in and if they keep forcing Boston into mistakes, they'll keep the momentum in the game.
I don't think anyone expected the Bucks to beat the Celtics by 12 points in Game 1 on the road. But while Milwaukee asserted its dominance, I expect Boston to bounce back with some adjustments to even up this series. Pick: Celtics -4.5