Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics: Game 2 Preview and Prediction

Jayson Tatum of the Celtics
Jayson Tatum was one of five Celtics to score in double figures in Boston's Game 1 win over Milwaukee. Photo by Keith Allison (wikipedia) [CC License].
  • The short-handed Celtics look to defend home court in Game 2 vs Bucks
  • Milwaukee try to flip turnover-prone ways to even series
  • Other Bucks need to step forward to help Antetokounmpo

After escaping with a narrow overtime win in a thrilling playoff opener, the Boston Celtics try to take a commanding 2-0 series lead over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.

With all-stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward out for the season for the Celtics, any postseason success would hinge on getting contributions from everyone.

Al Horford’s 24 points and 12 rebounds led a balanced attack, one of five Celtics scoring in double digits to slide past the Bucks, despite a monster outing from Giannis Antetokounmpo, and an absolute Hail Mary getting answered at the buzzer by Khris Middleton, to send the game into OT.

This was the Webster’s definition of pure loco:

But the Celtics showed great resilience, especially considering that three of their starters in this game – Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier and Aron Baynes – shared but one playoff start between them before tip-off.

Tatum looked poised dropping 19 points and 10 boards, while Rozier would have had the play of the game, with this filthy step back triple over Eric Bledsoe, who needed GPS to find his man after he was crossed out of range.

Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics Team Stats

OFFENSE

Bucks
VS
Celtics

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

*Stats do not include the playoffs

DEFENSE

Bucks
VS
Celtics

107.1 Defensive Rating 101.5
106.8 Points 108.4
-2.9 Rebounding Differential +0.7
-0.2 Turnover Differential -0.2
46.8 Field-Goal Percentage 44.0
37.2 Three-Point Percentage 33.9
47.4 Points In The Paint 39.8

*Stats do not include the playoffs

Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo is going to need a little bit more help for the Bucks to even their series with the Celtics in Game 2. Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC License]

Head-to-Head Results

Date Location Score Winner
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

In what seems to be the recurring theme in every game, Boston actually can’t stop Giannis, who has averaged 33.8 points, 11.2 rebounds and 5.4 assists in five contests.

But the Celtics’ success stems from absorbing the onslaught, while keeping the rest of the team at bay. In Game 1, Middleton went off for 31, but only one other player scored in double digits. That was the difference.

Notable Injuries and Absences

Bucks Celtics
No injuries Marcus Smart (thumb): OUT

 Straight Up Advice: Celtics (106-99)

Lost in all the hoopla from the wild finish is the fact that the Celtics had this game in the bag while holding the Bucks to under 100 points before overtime. Their elite level defense always gives them a chance.

Milwaukee was also its own worst enemy in Game 1, coughing the ball up 20 times, leading directly to 27 much needed Boston points – this is a Celtics team that 20th in the league in scoring.

The trio of Tony Snell, Eric Bledsoe and Jabari Parker were limited to 13 points on 6-of-21 shooting from the field. That’s not going to get it done.

Some help from Milwaukee’s other prominent players is needed. The trio of Tony Snell, Eric Bledsoe and Jabari Parker were limited to 13 points on 6-of-21 shooting from the field. That’s not going to get it done.

If the Bucks can control that turnover number, they did finish with strong shooting splits: they were over 48-percent shooting from the field and at 38-percent from beyond the arc. That should be enough to land you a win come playoff time.

But Milwaukee seems to be the right sort of tonic for Boston: they’re erratic, their supporting cast doesn’t compliment Giannis’ MVP-level talent, and that will make it hard for them to make enough winning plays down the stretch in this one.

Team Trends

Bucks Celtics
Milwaukee is 19-23 SU on the road Boston is 28-14 SU at home
Milwaukee is 5-5 SU in its last ten games Boston is 6-4 SU in its last ten games
Milwaukee is 12-23 SU as an underdog   Boston is 42-17 SU as a favorite
Milwaukee is 16-19-3 ATS after a loss Boston is 21-36-1 ATS after a win
Milwaukee is 33-45-5 ATS this season (42.3%) Boston is 51-30-2 ATS this season (63.0%)
Milwaukee is 16-25-1 ATS on the road    Boston is 23-17-2 ATS at home 

Additional SU Picks (April 17th)

A pair of other pivotal Game 2’s will also go on Tuesday, including the Portland Trail Blazers trying to salvage a split against Anthony Davis and the Pelicans.

 

 Match-Up SU Pick
Wizards vs Raptors – Game 2 Wizards
Pelicans vs Trail Blazers – Game 2 Trail Blazers