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Celtics vs Bucks Game 6: Giannis Needs to Freak Out to Force a Game 7

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in NBA Basketball

Updated Apr 27, 2018 · 8:16 AM PDT

Marcus Smart's defense and gritty play has been a huge part of Boston's success. Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr) CC License
  • The Bucks face elimination at home against the Celtics
  • Al Horford is helping the young Celtics with his solid play
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo needs to play like best player on floor to save the Bucks’ season

After a gritty win to take a 3-2 series lead, the Boston Celtics will try to win their first road game and eliminate the Bucks when they visit Milwaukee for Game 6.

While the young Celtics’ core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier continues to grow by leaps and bounds, it was an old reliable that led the way for a Boston victory in Game 5.

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The return of Marcus Smart from a thumb injury was also pivotal. Sidelined for six weeks, Smart showed why he’s one of Boston’s go-to playoff contributors. He filled the stat sheet while making all the hustle plays, including the key play to put Game 5 on ice.


As for the Bucks, it was a rare off night for Giannis Antetokounmpo. He finished with 16 points, ten rebounds and nine assists, which in a vacuum, looks fine.

But the most glaring stat was the Greek Freak took just ten shots in his 41 minutes. Conversely, Kris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe and Jabari Parker combined to take 53 shots and made just 21 (39.6%).

While he definitely needs help to carry the Bucks to victory, Antetokounmpo is still learning how to be dominant even when all the focus is on him – particularly in the most high-stakes games. He has at least one more chance to figure out the balance between passive/selfish in this series.

Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics Regular Season Team Stats


105.2 Offensive Rating 107.8 
104.0 Points 106.5 
22.5 Assists 23.2 
45.0 Field-Goal Percentage 47.8 
37.7  Three-Point Percentage 35.5 
+3.6 Plus/Minus -0.3


101.5 Defensive Rating 107.1
108.4 Points 106.8
+0.7 Rebounding Differential -2.9
-0.2 Turnover Differential -0.2
44.0 Field-Goal Percentage 46.8
33.9 Three-Point Percentage 37.2
39.8 Points In The Paint 47.4
Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis will need a big performance to get the Bucks to a Game 7 against the Celtics. Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC License]

Head-to-Head Results

Date Location Score Winner
April 24 – Playoff BOS 92-87 BOS
April 22 – Playoff MIL 104-102 MIL
April 20 – Playoff MIL 116-92 MIL
April 17 – Playoff BOS 120-106 BOS
April 15 – Playoff BOS 113-107 (OT) BOS
April 3 – Regular Season MIL 106-102 MIL
Dec. 4 – Regular Season BOS 111-100 BOS
Oct. 26 – Regular Season MIL 96-89 BOS
Oct. 18 – Regular Season BOS 108-100 MIL

Notable Injuries and Absences

Celtics Bucks
No injuries No injuries

 Straight Up Advice: Bucks (109-99)

Home cookin’ is going to be the difference in this one. The Bucks have performed so much better at home than on the road and the splits are staggering. They are scoring at an average clip of 110 points a game at home vs 100 away.

Home cookin’ is going to be the difference in this one. The Bucks have performed so much better at home than on the road and the splits are staggering.

They are shooting a blistering 54.6% from the field, nearly a full seven percentage points higher than in Boston. And from beyond the arc, they are lighting it up at 46.4% in the friendly confines of the Bradley Center, a far cry from the 33.8% they’ve shot it in three games at TD Garden.

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Without any superstars waiting in the wings in this series or the rest of the playoffs, the Celtics have been scraping along trying to get points wherever they can. They’re tenth in playoff scoring, but that takes a dive away from TD Garden, where they are scoring just 97 points a game.

One place where they can make up the difference is in the turnover department. In their three wins, Boston has been able to force Milwaukee into 15 turnovers a game. That number dips to under ten in losses. If the Celtics’ top-end defense shows up on the road, that could get them closer to wrapping this up.

But Game 6 has an Antetokounmpo total domination game written all over it.

An all-everything performance forces this one back to Boston for Game 7.

Team Trends

Celtics Bucks
Boston is 27-15 SU on the road Milwaukee is 27-16 SU at home
Boston is 5-5 SU in its last ten games Milwaukee is 5-5 SU in its last ten games
Boston is 14-12 SU as an underdog   Milwaukee is 34-16 SU as a favorite
Boston is 34-22-1 ATS after a win Milwaukee is 17-20-3 ATS after a loss
Boston is 54-32-1 ATS this season (63.5%) Milwaukee is 34-48-5 ATS this season (41.5%)
Boston is 22-21-1 ATS on the road    Milwaukee is 12-27-4 ATS at home 


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