at Milwaukee Bucks (2-1) at Boston Celtics (1-2)
Monday, May 6, 2019
7:00 PM ET
Round 2 Game #4, Home Game #2
98.5 Sports Hub, 103.3 FM WTMJ
TD GardenProbable Starting Matchups Point Guard
Kyrie Irving vs Eric BledsoeShooting Guard
Jaylen Brown vs Khris Middleton
Jayson Tatum vs Nikola MiroticPower Forward
Marcus Morris, Sr vs Giannis Antetokounmpo
Al Horford vs Brook LopezCeltics Reserves
Terry Rozier III
Robert Williams III
Aron Baynes Injuries
Marcus Smart (oblique) questionableTwo Way Players
P. J. DozierHead Coach
Brad StevensBucks Reserves
Malcolm Brogdon (plantar fascia) out
Donte DiVicenzo (heel) out
Pau Gasol (ankle) outTwo Way Players
Mike BudenholzerGame Notes
The series continues with the Bucks once again visiting the Celtics at the TD Garden. In Game 3 on Friday night, the Bucks came away with their first playoff win in Boston since May 13, 1987. The Celtics are now up against the proverbial wall and need to win this game to avoid dropping into a 1-3 hole in the series.
The Celtics have the talent and proved in Game 1 that they can beat this Milwaukee team, but they didn't show the togetherness or the effort that they needed to beat them in Games 2 and 3. Once again, the whole isn't as good as the sum the individual parts.
The Celtics have had two days off to try to regroup and to figure out what they did wrong in those two games. The officiating was bad in that game and the Celtics let that get to them. They also let the Bucks play harder and when the going got rough, they stopped playing defense and that, more than anything cost them the game.
The Celtics got some good news on Sunday as Marcus Smart, who has missed 8 games, was upgraded from out to questionable. He was able to play full contact 3 on 3 on Saturday and felt good afterwards. He went through the entire practice on Sunday and will be a game time decision on Monday once he sees how he feels after the shoot around.
If Marcus Smart returns, it's not clear if he will return to the starting lineup or if he will come off the bench. He is expected to be on a minutes restriction and play in short stints of 4 or 5 minutes at a time. Aron Baynes, who played just 2 minutes in Game 3 is expected to get more minutes to try to stop the Bucks at the rim more in this game.
Malcolm Brogdon is also getting close to a return for the Bucks, but he has been ruled out for Game 4. Brogdon has been practicing with the team and has played some 5 on 5 but they are being cautious with him and he hasn't been cleared to play as yet. He hasn't played in a game since Mar. 15 due to a right plantar fascia tear. Key Matchups
Al Horford vs Giannis Antetokounmpo
On paper, Antetokounmpo is matched up with Marcus Morris, but it is Horford who will have the majority of the task of guarding him. 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 coming off a game in which he had 32 points, 13 rebounds, and 8 assists. He also shot 22 free throws and the Celtics must find a way to defend against him without getting called for a foul on every drive. We may see some Semi Ojeleye and Aron Baynes helping to try to slow him down. The Celtics will need Al to continue to play well and to do all the things that he does to help the Celtics win, especially .
Kyrie Irving vs Eric Bledsoe
Kyrie had a great Game 1 with 26 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds. He also held Bledsoe to 6 points on 1-5 shooting with 2 rebounds, and 4 assists. Game 2 was a completely different story, however. Kyrie scored just 9 points on 4-18 shooting with 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 turnovers. Bledsoe had 21 points on 7-12 shooting. Kyrie bounced back with 29 points, 6 assists and 3 steals in Game 3 while Bledsoe had only 9 points and 4 assists. The Celtics will need to have Kyrie play well once again along with limiting Bledsoe if they hope to win. Honorable Mention
Jaylen Brown vs Khris Middleton
Middleton is averaging 20 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.1 assists. He is shooting 54.5% from beyond the arc. The Celtics need to run him off of the 3 point line especially.
Brown has been steady in this series and is averaging 13.9 points and 6 rebounds. Whether it is Brown or Smart starting at the two, he will have to play better defense on Middleton especially on the perimeter. Keys to the GameDefense
- Defense wins championships and defense will decide this series. In Game 1, defense definitely was the deciding factor. The Celtics held the Bucks to 34.8% shooting from the field and 33.3% shooting from beyond the arc. In Game 2, Milwaukee was the team that played tough defense, holding the Celtics to 39.5% from the field and 35.7% from beyond the arc. In Game 3, the Celtics starting playing tough defense in the beginning but let up in the second half. The Celtics must play tough in your face defense, especially on the perimeter for the entire 48 minutes if they want to win. Rebound
- Next to defense, rebounding is a key to winning. In Game 1, the Celtics out-rebounded the Bucks 51-44. In Game 2, the Bucks out-rebounded the Celtics 53-45. It isn't surprising that the team that won the rebound battle won each game. In Game 3, the rebounding was even at 44 each. Much of rebounding is effort and desire and when the Celtics put out the extra effort on the boards, it usually carries through to the rest of their game. The Celtics must continue to crash the glass as a team and give even more effort on the boards in this game. Be Aggressive
- The Celtics were definitely the more aggressive team in Game 1 and also were aggressive in the first half of Games 2 and 3. However, the Bucks came out as the more aggressive team in the second half of the last two games and were able to pull away for the win in each of them. The Celtics have to be the first to loose balls and rebounds and they have to be aggressive getting to the basket and to be the more aggressive team on defense. The team that is more aggressive and that plays harder will be the team that wins. Move the Ball
- When the Celtics move the ball and find the open man, they are tough to beat. In the second half of both Games 2 and 3 the Celtics have come out in the second half with each player trying to do too much. There was too much dribbling and too much hero ball. They have to play team ball and trust each other and make the extra pass to find the open man. NO hero ball.
No Third Quarter Let Down
- In the last two games, the Celtics have come out strong to begin the game and have made a run in the first half to go up and then went into the half with the game close. However, in the second half of both games they have fallen apart in the third quarter and not recovered to allow the Bucks to win both games. The Celtics have to somehow solve their third quarter malaise. They have to match the Bucks effort in the third quarter and have to adjust to the officiating and answer the Bucks runs with bigger runs of their own.
- In Game 3, the Bucks reserves outscored the Celtics reserves 42-16. Only Gordon Hayward (10 points) and Semi Ojeleye (6 points) scored for the Celtics. The Celtics depth is supposed to be one of their strengths but it certainly wasn't in Game 3. Getting Marcus Smart back would be a plus, but the Celtics must get more help from their reserves. X-Factors
- The Celtics are once again at home after losing Game 3 on their home court. The Bucks were 27-14 on the road in the regular season and are 3-0 so far in the playoffs on the road. The Celtics need to make home court work for them and come out determined to give their fans a win.
- Officiating is always an X-Factor. There is no doubt after Game 3 that officiating can change the complexion of a game. The Celtics must adapt to the way the officials call the game. They must keep being the more aggressive team and can't let up when the officials make some bad calls. Hopefully the Celtics will get refs that call the game evenly and let both teams play. Barkley's Prediction
- Charles Barkley is almost always wrong when he makes his predictions. On Sunday, he predicted that the Celtics would not win another game in the series. Hopefully that will be a reverse jinx and the Celtics will come out strong in this one and get the win.