Boston Celtics vs Milwaukee Bucks (Game 1): Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

What: Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks

Where: Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, WI

When: Sunday, April 28th at 1:00 PM EST

How (TV): ABC

Series Standing: 0-0

Boston Celtics (Away)

Head Coach: Brad Stevens {All-Time 270-222 | BOS}

Season Record: 49-33, 4th in the East

Projected Starting Five: (G) Kyrie Irving – (G) Jaylen Brown – (F) Jayson Tatum – (F) Marcus Morris – (C) Al Horford

Top Performers:

  • G Kyrie Irving – 22.5 PPG | 7.8 APG | .423 3P%
  • F Jayson Tatum – 19.3 PPG | 5.5 RPG | .533 3P%
  • F Gordon Hayward – 12.3 PPG | 5.0 RPG | .444 3P%

The Boston Celtics breezed past the Indiana Pacers in the first-round of the NBA Playoffs. Despite regular season woes and a sudden injury to key-piece Marcus Smart, the Celtics showed they are still a class above most of the East.

Against the Pacers, the Celtics showed their ability. They maintained a 52% effective field goal percentage during that time and dominated the boards to the tune of 47.8 rebounds per game.

They’ll have difficulty running with the Milwaukee Bucks. Their unique mixture of size and speed is unmatched, but their own offence is no passing thought. If they can punish the Bucks on defence, they may be able to slow Milwaukee’s potent offence.

Milwaukee Bucks (Home)

Head Coach: Mike Budenholzer {All-Time 60-22 | MIL}

Season Record: 60-22, 1st in the East

Projected Starting Five: (G) Eric Bledsoe – (G) Sterling Brown – (F) Khris Middleton – (F) Giannis Antetokounmpo – (C) Brook Lopez

Top Performers:

  • F Giannis Antetokounmpo – 33.5 PPG | 15.3 RPG | 4.5 APG
  • G Eric Bledsoe – 25.0 PPG | 6.8 APG | 5.2 RPG
  • G-F Khris Middleton – 23.2 PPG | 6.7 RPG | 5.2 APG

It’s difficult to take much out of the Milwaukee Bucks’ first-round victory over the Detroit Pistons. Detroit was outmatched by the Bucks during the regular season and the loss of Blake Griffin suffocated their chances in the post-season.

Milwaukee will show their true selves against the Boston Celtics. Boston is a savvy defensive team with scoring options at every position. Brad Stevens is also a clever coach, who surely has a scheme to slow Antetokounmpo and his team.

Their three-point shooting held fast in the first round, as the Bucks shot 37% from range over the course of their sweep. While Antetokounmpo was held to only 14 assists over four games, their adaptability was show as five players also recorded 14 or more assists in the series.

What’s At Stake?

The Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks have maintained a rather competitive series all-time. In 213 regular season games, the Celtics hold a slim 109-104 lead over the Bucks.

Since 2018 the Celtics and Bucks have met in six different playoff series. Boston holds a commanding lead in series won with a 5-1 lead over Milwaukee.

Both teams will look to get off to a good start in Game 1 of the second-round of the NBA Playoffs.

Boston’s Backcourt Has the Advantage

Say what you will of Eric Bledsoe and his resurgence with the Bucks, there’s no period where he will be able to take on Kyrie Irving. Or at least contain him during this series.

All offence runs through Irving and the insertion of Rozier off the bench is a scary prospect for the Bucks backcourt. If the Bucks struggle anywhere, it is when their bigs are brought out to the perimeter to defend.

If the crafty Celtics guards can exploit the likes of Lopez and Ilyasova, they’ll have no choice but to go small. At that point, the Celtics front court will feast.

A Real Test for the Greek Freak

Giannis Antetokounmpo may very well be the NBA’s most valuable player this year. He has been unstoppable, on top of that he’s shown diversity and adaptability in his game that not many expected.

He will be going up against an intimidating front court of Marcus Morris, Aron Baynes, and Al Horford. While none can lock him down one-on-one, the Celtics are experts at directing players into the big bodies of their front court.

Deep inside the paint, Antetokounmpo is deadly. He’s also shown improvement from range, if not consistency. If he can overcome the Celtics’ plan of keeping him in Bucks no-man’s land – anywhere between five feet and the arc – the Greek Freak can dominate this series.

Boston Celtics Roster Notes

G Marcus Smart – 10 Apr 2019 – Out (Oblique) – Smart suffered a torn oblique and could be sidelined for the first two rounds of playoffs, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

F Guerschon Yabusele – 21 Apr 2019 – Day To Day (Back) – Yabusele was ruled OUT for Sunday’s (Apr. 21) game.

Milwaukee Bucks Roster Notes

G Malcolm Brogdon – 25 Apr 2019 – Out (Heel) – Brogdon is listed as OUT for Games 1 & 2 against the Boston Celtics.

G Donte DiVincenzo – 26 Mar 2019 – Out For Season (Heel) – DiVincenzo is out for the rest of the season with bilateral heel bursitis in his right foot according to Malika Andrews of ESPN.

C Pau Gasol – 23 Mar 2019 – Out (Ankle) – Gasol is expected to miss approximately one month with a left ankle injury according to Malika Andrews of ESPN.

G-F Tony Snell – 20 Apr 2019 – Day To Day (Ankle) – Snell is is listed as ACTIVE for Saturday’s (Apr. 20) game, but will only have ’emergency-type availability’ according to Coach Mike Budenholzer.

X-Factors: Al Horford (BOS) vs Brook Lopez (MIL)

It is a battle at the pivot position which will greatly impact this game between the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks. Both are excellent outside shooters but they also maintain their own unique defensive abilities. It should be an interesting matchup.

Al Horford

Center | 6-10, 245lb (208cm, 111kg) | Florida | Exp. 11 Years

13.6 PPG | 4.2 APG | 6.7 RPG | 0.9 SPG | 1.3 BPG | 1.5 TOV | .535 FG% | .360 3P%

Al Horford is an integral piece for the success of the Boston Celtics. While he struggled to shoot the ball, his defensive presence and ability on the glass in round one were crucial.

In round one Horford only shot 34% from the field and 31% from three. While his defensive ability is most important for the Celtics, he needs to maintain better efficiency if they hope to keep pace with the Bucks.

It will be interesting to see where the Celtics choose to matchup Horford. He has good foot speed for a big, but isn’t quite tall enough to challenge Lopez or even Antetokounmpo in the paint. As he excels, so will the Celtics.

Brook Lopez

Center | 7-0, 270lb (213cm, 122kg) | Stanford | Exp. 10 Years

12.5 PPG | 1.2 APG | 4.9 RPG | 0.6 SPG | 2.2 BPG | 1.0 TOV | .452 FG% | .365 3P%

Brook Lopez has been brilliant for the Bucks. Never stepping out of his role and excelling in it, the sharpshooting big-man is key to the Bucks’ offence.

Lopez shot well from the field in round one of the NBA Playoffs. He converted on 56% of his shots inside the arc while making 38% from his attempts from range. His height and versatility do well to allow Antetokounmpo into the paint.

Lopez is incredibly slow-footed though and saw some struggles when the Pacers attacked him in round one. The Celtics have a plethora of wing options, so whether he can cope will be interesting to observe.

Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks Predictions and Odds

Both of these teams swept their first round opponents, so Game 1 will be their first taste of real competition in this years playoffs. With homecourt advantage the favour leans toward the Bucks, but don’t doubt the experience of this Boston Celtics side.

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