Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics 2022 NBA Second Round Playoffs: Game Two Preview

Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics 2022 NBA Second Round Playoffs: Game Two Preview

NBA Game Previews

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics 2022 NBA Second Round Playoffs: Game Two Preview


Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

After the Boston Celtics became the only team in the league to sweep their first-round opponent, the consensus was that this team might just be poised to win it all. Then the Khris Middleton injury news dawned on the Bucks and the Celtics became even larger favorites in this series. However, this line of thinking is appearing to be short-sighted based on what happened in game one. The reigning NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks didn’t merely back down, they took it right to Boston on their home floor. With a 101-89 victory, the Bucks have made a statement right out of the gate led by dominating two-way performances by Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday. But as we all know the NBA Playoffs are spread out which gives teams who lose plenty of time to make adjustments. So how will the Celtics adjust and can the same formula work twice in a row for the Bucks? 

How Milwaukee can win: 

It was a simple strategy in game one for the Bucks but quite unbreakable. On defense, the Bucks forced the Celtics into shooting all the threes in the world. They took away the paint entirely with Brook Lopez and Giannis Antetokounmpo putting on a rim protection tour de force. Boston attempted 50 threes and made 18 of them. 36% is about league average but with no rim pressure, the Bucks’s defense didn’t flinch. Milwaukee stayed home and allowed these Celtics three-point looks which meant the Bucks defense wasn’t in rotation at all. NO rotation and stagnant ball movement lead to the wrong kind of high-volume shooting night.

Two areas of adjustment for the Bucks on this end will be if Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum start to get going. Milwaukee’s defensive strategy can play with fire as they were somewhat lucky Brown had a major off night. Then with Tatum, Lopez got stuck in his usual drop which led to some pull-up jumpers. The Bucks were able to live with that in game one but must be ready to switch their coverage if it becomes a larger issue.

How Boston can win: 

It’s a different deck of cards the Celtics are dealing with this time around. Unlike the Nets, the Bucks have overwhelming size and physicality to account for. The Celtics gave help and packed the Greek Freak’s areas of the court but it wasn’t the same result as before. Antetokounmpo got to the rim and struggled to finish at his usually high rate, shooting 9-25 but impacted the game in other ways.

This enormous attention the Celtics brought to him gave way for open three-point shots. Boston gave the same amount of respect to the Bucks role-players as they did with the Nets and paid the price for it. This leaves Udoka with two options. First, they could continue to bring help to Giannis and bank on him beating them as a passer which he already has. Or they could ease up on the shading defenders and help in the lane which would allow them to close out to shooters. The peril of the latter strategy is this leaves Antetokounmpo with cleaner driving lanes to attack. In reality, the solution will lie somewhere in the middle of these two ideas but we’ll see how much Udoka changes form. 

The Spread Via FanDuel: 

Celtics: -5 (-200 ML)

Bucks: +5 (+170 ML) 

Final Prediction: Celtics 113, Bucks 106

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