The stars have lived up to the hype through the first three games of the Eastern Conference semifinals series between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics and there is no indication that they plan on slowing down as things move forward.
Giannis Antetokounmpo will not be denied. The Greek Freak put on a show during Friday’s Game 3 against the Celtics, scoring 32 points, pulling down 13 rebounds and dishing out eight assists in the 123-116 Bucks win. He got help from unexpected places, as Pat Connaughton and George Hill combined for 35 points off the bench.
The Celtics’ bench was almost non-existent, as Gordon Hayward (10 points) and Semi Ojeleye (six points) were the only non-starters to score in the game. They’ll try to right the ship in Game 4 on Monday.
Here’s everything you need to know about the second-round series between the Bucks and Celtics.
No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks vs. No. 4 Boston Celtics
How to watch Game 4
- Date: Monday, May 6
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- Location: TD Garden — Boston, Massachusetts
- Live Stats:GameTracker
- TV channel: TNT
- Online streaming: fuboTV (try it for free)
- Odds: Will update when available
Playoff series schedule, results (Bucks lead series, 2-1)
*All times Eastern
- Game 1: Celtics 112, Bucks 90 (Box Score)
- Game 2: Bucks 123, Celtics 102 (Box Score)
- Game 3: Bucks 123, Celtics 116 (Box Score)
- Game 4: Bucks at Celtics, Monday, May 6, 7 p.m. — TV: TNT
- Game 5: Celtics at Bucks, Wednesday, May 8, 8 p.m. — TV: TNT
- Game 6:* Bucks at Celtics, Friday, May 10, TBD — TV: ESPN
- Game 7*: Celtics at Bucks, Monday, May 13, TBD — TV: TNT
Odds and Analysis
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Bucks: Head coach Mike Budenholzer led the Bucks through a remarkable regular season campaign in his first season with the team and Milwaukee had the best record in the NBA. It also didn’t hurt that Giannis Antetokounmpo had another MVP-caliber season and didn’t even have to do a whole lot during their first-round series. The Bucks will certainly get a much stiffer challenge this time around when facing the Celtics.
Celtics: Meanwhile, the Celtics were expected to be one of the top teams in the NBA this season. However, Boston struggled to find consistency throughout the majority of the year, but really excelled in their opening round series. Kyrie Irving was sensational despite the team not having Marcus Smart as he deals with an oblique injury. It’ll be interesting to see if the team continues to thrive on both ends of the floor as they did against Indiana.
Matchups to watch
1. Slowing down Antetokounmpo: This is definitely easier said than done. Antetokounmpo has proved to be a mismatch for the majority of the league, so it’s no wonder that he’s one of the frontrunners for the MVP Award. It’s worth keeping an eye on what kind of defensive assignments head coach Brad Stevens doles out, but veteran forward Marcus Morris could be tasked with guarding Antetokounmpo quite often considering his physical nature.
2. Benches: Depth is something that both teams certainly have possessed throughout the season. On the Boston side, Gordon Hayward signed with the team two years ago to be one of the top offensive options, but came off the bench for the majority of the 2018-19 season. Hayward averaged 12.3 points and finished in double figures in three of the four games against the Pacers, including a 20-point performance in the series-clinching victory. Milwaukee is also just as deep with stellar veteran forwards like Nikola Mirotic and Ersan Ilyasova coming off the bench and providing strong perimeter shooting.
3. Three-point shooting: In the postseason, the Celtics are shooting 39.8 percent from beyond the arc, which is good for fourth among playoff teams. The Bucks are right behind the Celtics in fifth place with a 37.0 percent shooting clip from three. These are the top two shooting teams among the Eastern Conference postseason squads, so three-point shooting could ultimately be the difference in this series. That’s one of the reasons that Milwaukee went out and traded for Mirotic at the deadline and he could be a huge x-factor in this series.
Series prediction, pick
Bucks in six: The Bucks absolutely cruised past the Pistons and didn’t face a ton of resistance throughout that series. It’s safe to say that it’ll be a little more competitive when they take on the Celtics. After all, the Celtics were picked by many to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference prior to the season.
This definitely could be a series that goes six or seven games because of the amount of depth on both sides. The Bucks just have too much firepower not to come away with the victory and the team also could get Malcolm Brogdon back at some point in the series.