4) Boston Celtics
3) Milwaukee Bucks
It’s been said that a series doesn’t officially start until the road team wins a game. The Boston Celtics won Game 1 in a dominating way by 22 points. Boston wasted no time in serving notice that they are not there to be a sacrificial lamb. The Milwaukee Bucks are now waiting to get their revenge.
Keys to the game
Offensively, Boston needs to continue their balanced attack against Milwaukee’s very aggressive defense. Kyrie Irving doing his part as the alpha and leader of this team keeps the Celtics always in the game. The Celtics must look to stay hot from three-point range which will open driving lanes to the basket.
Defensively, they executed a terrific game plan by coach Brad Stevens. Continuing to limit the Buck’s transition opportunities and no open looks or easy baskets is essential. Most importantly, it’s a must to build a wall in the paint denying Giannis Antetokounmpo access to create for himself or teammates.
For the Bucks, they must get Antetokounmpo loose in the open court so he can utilize his unique skills. They mus get better contributions from players not named Antetokounmpo and Kris Middleton. Milwaukee have to be shot makers, not just shot takers (35% from the field).
On defense, they must take something away from Boston’s offense (Celtics shot 54% from the field and 41% from threes). Also, the Bucks need to force more turnovers and convert them into easy baskets, nine points off of 12 Celtic turnovers isn’t enough. They have to find a way to dominate the boards; the total was even at 55.
The x-factor is Jaysom Tatum. Tatum needs to help Boston in the rebounding department. Getting Tatum going will create more headaches for the Buck’s defense.
The x-factors for Milwaukee are Eric Bledsoe and Brook Lopez. Nine points between them will not get it done. They both have to be better from three-point range, 33% will only make Boston crowd the paint. They must get off to a better start, they can’t afford to give the Celtics an early double-digit lead.
Prediction- Milwaukee bounces back to win game two because they will shoot better while the Celtics cool off.