The Boston Celtics have stolen home court from the Milwaukee Bucks, and now it will be up to them to not give it right back. The two teams are headed to Boston for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series on Friday night. Both of the first two games of this series have been blowouts, but look for Game 3 to be much closer. The Celtics blasted the Bucks with a 112-90 victory in the series opener, but Milwaukee bounced back with an impressive 123-102 win in Game 2 of the series.
These two teams play very different styles of basketball, but both of them have looked great at times in the playoffs. Milwaukee dominated their first-round series against the Detroit Pistons, sweeping that series in four games. The Bucks were the highest scoring team in the league during the regular season. Boston is a top-10 defensive team, and they are trying to slow the game down in this series. The Celtics swept the Indiana Pacers in four games in their first-round playoff series. Boston is a -2.0 point favorite over the Bucks in Game 3 on Friday night.
The “Greek Freak” Can’t Do it Alone
Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the best basketball players in the world, but even he isn’t good enough to beat the Celtics alone. The “Greek Freak” is averaging 26.0 points and 10.8 rebounds per game so far this postseason, but the Celtics are throwing extra defenders at him every time he has the ball. Antetokounmpo struggled in the series opener but bounced back with 29 the Game 2 victory. If the Bucks are going to find a way to steal homecourt advantage back from Boston, then the “Greek Freak” will need to have a monster game in this one.
Point guard Malcolm Brogdon remains out of the lineup for the Bucks, but they still have plenty of players who can help Antetokounmpo out. Khris Middleton was an All-Star selection this season, and he poured in 28 points on 7-10 shooting from deep in Game 2. The Bucks were able to knock down 20 three-pointers in their only win of the series, and shooting the ball well will be a huge key going forward.
Tatum Struggling For Celtics
Jayson Tatum looked to be one of the best up-and-coming players in the NBA a season ago, but he has been basically a no-show so far in this series. Tatum scored just five points in the Game 2 loss, and the Celtics need much more from their young star. The second-year player is averaging just 14.3 points during the postseason, and that just isn’t enough production for this team. Boston is also playing without Marcus Smart, and the Celtics are clearly missing the great defense and energy that he brings to the table each night.
Point guard Kyrie Irving is really the only Celtics player that has been consistent throughout the playoffs, until Game 2. Irving scored just nine points and went just 4-18 from the field in the loss to the Bucks. The Celtics need their leader to be great in Game 3 if they are going to take a 2-1 series lead.
Boston Takes Game 3
Each team has played up to their potential in just one game in this series, and it is really hard to get a feel on this matchup. The Bucks have the ability to score more points, but Boston’s defense is usually great, especially at home. Look for the Celtics to use their homecourt advantage to help them take a 2-1 series lead. Bet the Boston Celtics -2.0 over the Milwaukee Bucks.