at Boston Celtics (0-0) at Milwaukee Bucks (0-0)
Sunday, April 28, 2019
1:00 PM ET
Round 2 Game #1 Road Game #1
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, 103.3 FM WTMJ
Fiserv Forum Probable Starting Matchups Point Guard
Kyrie Irving vs Eric BledsoeShooting Guard
Jaylen Brown vs Sterling Brown
Jayson Tatum vs Khris MiddletonPower Forward
Al Horford vs Giannis Antetokounmpo
Aron Baynes vs Brook LopezCeltics Reserves
Robert Williams III
Marcus Smart (oblique) questionableTwo Way Players
P. J. DozierHead Coach
Brad StevensBucks Reserves
Malcolm Brogdonn (plantar fascia) questionable
Donte DiVicenzo (heel) out
Pau Gasol (ankle) out
Two Way Players
Bonzie ColsonHead Coach
Mike BudenholzerGame Notes
The Celtics and Bucks now advance to the second round after both teams swept their opponents in the first round. The Celtics beat the Bucks last season in the first round 4 games to 3. This year's series will look a lot different than last year's as both teams have upgraded their rosters and young players on both sides have more experience.
The Bucks won the series this season 2-1. The Celtics handed the Bucks their first loss when they won 117-113 on November 1 at Boston. The Celtics were 24-55 on three pointers and Jaylen Brown missed the game. The Bucks beat the Celtics 120-107 in Boston on 12/21. Aron Baynes, Al Horford, and Marcus Morris all missed that game. The Bucks beat the Celtics 98-97 in Milwaukee on 2/21. The Celtics were without Baynes and Gordon Hayward.
Just as in the series with the Indiana Pacers, this series will be a defensive battle. The Celtics have the top defensive rating of 95.8 while the Bucks have the third best defensive rating at 96.8. During the regular season, the Bucks had the top defensive rating at 104.9 while the Celtics were 6th with a defensive rating of 107.0. In the first round, the Celtics faced the 6th best defense while the Bucks faced the Pistons, whose defensive rating was last among playoff teams.
The Celtics are hoping to get Marcus Smart back sometime during this round. He has been seen jogging and shooting and hopefully will be back soon. The Bucks are also hoping to get a key player back as Malcolm Brogdon has been out for a month with a plantar fascia tear and is expected back some time in this round. Key Matchups
Al Horford vs Giannis Antetokounmpo
This matchup is key for both teams. Antetokounmpo is arguably the best player in this series and likely will be this year's MVP. He is averaging 26.3 points, 12 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.5 blocks in the playoffs so far. He is shooting 52.1% from the field and 23.5% from beyond the arc. Last year, Brad turned to Semi Ojeleye to guard Antetokounmpo and he did a good job. It's possible he may go to him again should Al struggle to slow him down. The Celtics will need Al to continue to do all the things that he does to help the Celtics win.
Kyrie Irving vs Eric Bledsoe
Last year Terry Rozier and Eric Bledsoe had a running feud in their first round match up with each player taking shots at the other in the media. This year, Kyrie will likely give Bledsoe all he can on the court with not so much trash talking. Bledsoe is averaging 19.3 points, 4 rebounds, and 5.3 assists. He is shooting 52.5% from the field and 31.6% from three. Kyrie will need to keep the aggressive mindset that he had in the first round, especially on the defensive end. Honorable Mention
Jayson Tatum vs Khris Middleton
Middleton is averaging 19.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists. He is shooting 46.2% from the field and 45.8% from beyond the arc. The Celtics need to run him off of the 3 point line especially. Tatum played very well in the first round and the Celtics will need him to continue to be aggressive and to play hard in this round if they want to beat the Bucks. Keys to the Game Defense
- Defense wins championships and defense will decide this series. The Celtics have the top defensive rating of 95.8 while the Bucks have the third best defensive rating of 96.8 in the playoffs. The Celtics are allowing just 91.2 points per game while the Bucks are allowing 98 points per game. The Bucks averaged 121.8 points in their first round matchup with Detroit, while the Celtics averaged just 99.3 points in their first round against the Pacers. The Celtics will struggle if they try to outscore the Bucks and so they need to defend and limit the Bucks scoring. Rebound
- Next to defense, rebounding will be key for the Celtics. So far, the Celtics have done a good job on the boards in the first round. It takes effort to rebound and when the Celtics put out that extra effort to get rebounds, it usually translates to other areas of their game. The Bucks are averaging 55.3 rebounds per game (1st) while the Celtics are averaging 47.8 rebounds per game (3rd). The Celtics must continue to crash the glass as a team and give even more effort on the boards in this game.
- The Celtics have to be the more aggressive team from start to finish. They have to be aggressive in going after loose balls and on defense and going to the basket and grabbing rebounds. The Celtics have to be the team that plays harder and is more aggressive if they want to get a win in this game. They have to come out being more aggressive and they have to be more aggressive for the entire game. No let up. Move the Ball Carefully
- When the Celtics move the ball and find the open man, they are tough to beat. They have to play team ball and trust each other and make the extra pass to find the open man. But, in moving the ball, they have to be careful. The Celtics averaged 16 turnovers in the first round and they simply can't turn the ball over like that against the Bucks, who are first in the league with 19.8 fast break points per game. They must take better care of the ball. X-Factors On the Road
- The Celtics will open this round on the road. The Bucks were a very good home team this season, losing just 8 games at home all season. The Celtics struggled a bit on the road in the regular season, going 21-20 on the road but they won their first 2 games on the road in the first round. The Celtics must block out the distractions of playing on the road and focus on playing Celtics basketball. Without home court advantage in this round, they must win on the road. Coaching
- Both teams are well coached. Mike Budenholzer was chosen by his peers as the Coach of the year. As with every series, this will be a chess match and from quarter to quarter, coaches must make adjustments. Coaching becomes more important in the playoffs and so Brad needs to be ready to counter whatever Budenholzer throws at him. Revenge
- The Celtics beat the Bucks in 7 games in the first round last season. I'm sure they have been hoping for a rematch in the playoffs all season as they were dominating the league and the Celtics were underperforming. They are going to want to beat the Celtics and avenge that first round loss from last year. Officiating
-Officiating is always an X-Factor. In the one point win by the Bucks in February, the Final Two Minute report showed 6 different wrong calls or noncalls by the referees. In a one point game, that can definitely change the outcome. Whether the refs just miss things or have an agenda doesn't matter. The way a game is officiated can change the outcome completely.