I expect the Celts to lose to the Bucks in round 2 in 5 games.
Milwaukee holds home court and wins a tough one in Boston, drops the other Boston game, closes at home in Game 5.
The Bucks have the MVP, they have home court, and they've been the best overall team throughout the regular season this year.
The Celts have a decent roster to slow down Giannis; unfortunately they are likely to struggle to contain Middleton. I expect Eric Bledsoe will have some revenge, as well. If Mirotic is back that will be a problem for the Celts as well.
I think the Bucks can beat the Celts without Brogdon, but if they have Brogdon healthy, that just makes the matchup even more in their favor.
Bottom line, the Bucks have a SRS of 8.23 whereas the Celts have a SRS of 3.91. There is a huge gap between the two teams. The Bucks should win comfortably.
Last week weren't you talking about how Indy would beat the C's if they got the 4 seed?
At least you've moved off of that stance (hopefully), now you've moved on to Milwaukee.
Reminds me of my Celtics-hating friends last spring:
You guys can't stop the Freak!
You guys can't beat a hot team like the Sixers, they have Embiid AND Simmons!!!
You guys can't get past LeBron!!!
And when up 3-2 against Cavs... doesn't matter, nobody from the East can compete with the West!!!!
Then when we lost to Cavs.... I TOLD YOU SO!!!!!
But after seeing those SRS numbers, Celtics simply can't compete with a team that has a higher one. Regular season success guarantees playoff success. I suppose TOR has a better shot at beating GSW than GSW has at beating MIL.
Looking back to last playoffs when the Celtics beat the Bucks, we did have some trouble sporadically with Middleton, but also Parker for some stretches. In our two losses this season, we were missing multiple guys (Horford, Hayward, Morris, Baynes). Celtics are obviously a very different team than last season's playoff squad. When they play together and focused, this squad is clearly better. How much better is Milwaukee? We shall see when everything is neutralized and variables (sporadic "rest" or scheduling imbalances that don't show up in playoff series) are minimized. I'm comfortable forcing other guys to beat us besides Giannis.
I think if the refs don't allow us near him and he gets his calls (and non-calls), it's a very tough series. But always believed Celtics are more worried about the Raptors, who are their toughest matchup (perhaps more than anyone out west). I think they almost strategically backed off the 3 seed so they could see what the Sixers can do against them and trust they can handle the Bucks.
I think Stevens stopped worrying about our SRS long ago. He cares about getting this time right, not winning every regular season game we could. No team ever went undefeated at home and winless on the road en route to a championship. You have to win on the road at some point. Can't be scared to play on the road, in any building.