2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference: #2 Boston Celtics vs #3 Milwaukee Bucks
Tale of the Tape:
|111.8 (12th)||Points Per Game||115.5 (3rd)|
|104.5 (1st)||Points Allowed Per Game||112.1 (19th)|
|24th||Pace of Play||3rd|
|5th||Off Efficiency Rating||3rd|
|2nd||Def Efficiency Rating||14th|
Can’t Miss Offer From Caesars
- Jayson Tatum, F-G. – 31.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 8.0 APG, 50% FG
- Jaylen Brown, G-F. – 23.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, 4.0 SPG, 47.4% FG
- Al Horford, G. – 20.0 PPG, 15.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 61.5% FG
- Giannis Antetokounmpo, F/C: 29.9 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 55.3% FG
- Khris Middleton, G/F: 20.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.2 SPG, 89% FT
- Jrue Holiday, G: 18.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 6.8 APG, 1.6 SPG, 50.1% FG
- George Hill, Milwaukee: Out (Abdominal strain)
- Khris Middleton, Milwaukee: Out (MCL sprain)
Celtics win the series 4-3
- The Celtics harrassed and dismantled the Brooklyn “super team” in round one thanks, in large part, to tremendous defense. The addition of Derrick White at the trade deadline has really helped the Boston defense, as has Al Horford finding the fountain of youth. The Celtics completely flustered Kevin Durant, which they will try to replicate against Giannis Antetokounmpo.
- However, Giannis carved up Chicago for 27.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, 7.2 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game during the series on 52.2% shooting. He put the team on his back with Middleton out and never left any doubt as to whether or not they would advance.
- Of course, he was also helped by Jrue Holiday, who averaged 17.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 1.2 steals in the series. Holiday will have his hands full with Marcus Smart, but the Bucks will need him to show up while Middleton is out if they’re going to advance. However, if the Celtics use Smart against Antetokounmpo, then Holiday will have to take advantage of the easier matchup.
- When the Celtics have the ball, they will be a tough challenge for a middle-of-the-road Bucks defense. Since adding Derrick White, the Celtics have been an elite offense, scoring 121.6 points per 100 possessions since the deadline.
- However, the offense wasn’t as electric versus the Nets. They shot 45.8% from the field but just 35.6% from beyond the arc, which was 9th of the 16 first-round teams. That was with Tatum shooting 42.5% from three. On the season, they ranked 14th in the NBA with an, I’m not joking, 35.6% percentage from deep. If the rest of the Celtics team is not hitting their shots, it’ll make it tough for them to outpace the Bucks.
- The biggest question in this series though will be how the Bucks adjust without Middleton. Wesley Matthews will likely slot in as the primary defender against Jayson Tatum, and the Bucks will need him to hold his own because Jaylen Brown is also going to be a matchup problem for the other defenders. If the Bucks have to move Matthews onto Brown, then they really have nobody to defend Tatum. Both teams will play some bigger lineups with Robert Williams and Al Horford down low for Boston and Bobby Portis and Brook Lopez for Milwaukee, but the key will be whether or not the Bucks’ defense can effectively match up against the three Boston ballhandlers.
- Without Middleton for likely this entire series, I think the Celtics will be able to pull this out. The Bucks are certainly going to win a few games because they are a deep and talented team, but I think the matchup problems will rear their head over the course of a full series.