at Boston Celtics (1-3) at Milwaukee Bucks (3-1)
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
8:00 PM ET
Round 2 Game #5 Road Game #3
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 Khris Middleton
Jayson Tatum vs Nikola MiroticPower Forward
Marcus Morris, Sr vs Giannis Antetokounmpo
Al Horford vs Brook LopezCeltics Reserves
Robert Williams III
Marcus Smart Injuries
None Two Way Players
P. J. DozierHead Coach
Brad StevensBucks Reserves
Malcolm Brogdonn (plantar fascia) out
Donte DiVicenzo (heel) out
Pau Gasol (ankle) out
Two Way Players
Bonzie ColsonHead Coach
Mike BudenholzerGame Notes
The Celtics come into Game 5 on the road with their backs against the wall. They are down in the series 1-3 and the odds are against them after dropping their last 3 games. Since 1984, teams trailing 1-3 in a best of 7 series are 7-145. Teams trailing 1-3 and playing game 5 on the road are just 2-103.
Only 11 teams have come back from a 1-3 deficit to win a best of 7 series in all of NBA history. Of those 11 teams, only Boston and Houston have done it twice. Of the current players in this series, Kyrie Irving was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers who came back from a 1-3 deficit to beat the Golden State Warriors.
I'm assuming that both teams will go with their same starting 5. There is no reason for the Bucks to change since they have been doing very well with this group. I don't know if Brad will decide to go big with Baynes in the starting lineup to try to counter Antetokounmpo or possibly bring Marcus Smart back into the starting lineup. Desperate times calls for desperate measures so those are things to watch for.
However, the way the Celtics have been playing, it is a long shot to even hope that they could win Game 5. The Bucks haven't won a playoff series over the Celtics since the 1983 Eastern Conference Semifinals and they will be energized to close this series out and rest up for the conference finals. The Celtics need to take it one game at a time and play a lot better than they have been playing.
The Celtics should have gotten a boost when Marcus Smart returned to the lineup in Game 4, but he was on a minutes restriction and never was able to get into any kind of rhythm. Malcolm Brogdon has once again been ruled out for Game 5 in spite of playing full contact in practice. They are being cautious with his return as they feel they have this series in hand and are looking toward the long run. Key Matchups
Al Horford vs Giannis Antetokounmpo
This matchup is once again key for both teams. Antetokounmpo is arguably the best player in this series and likely will be this year's MVP. He was virtually unstoppable in Game 4 with 39 points, 16 rebounds, and 4 assists and he only shot 10 free throws in that game. The Celtics must find a way to slow him down. Although he seemed a little tired in Game 4, Al Horford needs to continue to do all the little things that he does that lead to winning.
Kyrie Irving vs Eric Bledsoe
Kyrie is averaging 22.1 points per game, but has not been very efficient. Over the last 3 games, he is shooting 32% from the field and just 20% from beyond the arc. The Celtics need him to do better if they hope to win this game. For the most part, Bledsoe hasn't been a big factor on the offensive end, but his defense on Kyrie has been a factor. Honorable Mention
Jaylen Brown vs Khris Middleton
Middleton is averaging 19.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists. He is shooting 43% from the field and 48% from beyond the arc for the playoffs so far. The Celtics need to run him off of the 3 point line especially. Brown has been playing very well and needs to play even better for the Celtics to get a win in this game. Keys to the Game Defense
- Defense wins championships and defense will decide this series. It is the Celtics' defense that has suffered the most over the past 3 losses. They play good in the first half and for some reason, in the second half, they struggle on offense when the Bucks turn up their intensity and the Celtics let that affect their defense. The Celtics must play tough in your face team defense for the entire 48 minutes if they hope to get a win in this game. Rebound
- Next to defense, rebounding is a key to winning. In Game 1, the Celtics out-rebounded the Bucks 51-44 and won the game. In Game 2, the Bucks out-rebounded the Celtics 53-45. In Game 3, the rebounding was even at 44 each and in Game 4, the Bucks out-rebounded the Celtics 56-51. 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 crash the boards as a team and give even more effort to get to the rebounds in this game.
- The Celtics have been playing soft, especially in the second half of the last 3 games. They have allowed the Bucks to be the more aggressive team. 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 especially be more aggressive in the second half. Move the Ball
- The Celtics have started out playing the right way and have moved the ball well in the first half. Then, when the Bucks turn up their intensity, the Celtics seem to all try to do it on their own and play hero ball instead of team ball and the ball stops moving like it did in the first half. The Celtics must move the ball and make the extra pass in order to get good shots.
Bench Play - The Celtics bench has been outplayed by a large margin by the Bucks bench. In Game 3, the Bucks reserves outscored the Celtics reserves 42-16. In Game 4, they once again outscored the Celtics reserves 32-7. The Celtics must get more from their reserves. They especially need Gordon Hayward to play better. They also could use more contributions from Terry Rozier and Aron Baynes. Hopefully Marcus Smart plays again and can play more minutes in this game. X-Factors On the Road
- The Celtics will once again be on the road for Game 5. 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 but they won Game 1 on the road in this series. The Celtics must block out the distractions of playing on the road and focus on playing Celtics basketball. Backs Against the Wall
- The Celtics are in a must-win situation as it is now win or go home. If this team has any Celtic Pride, they have to come out and play hard and with heart and be the team that we have been hoping for this entire season. They have the talent, but need to dig down and play with heart to take the series back to Boston on Friday. Officiating
-Officiating is always an X-Factor. The way a game is officiated can change the outcome completely. If the refs call every little bit of contact, it makes it hard to defend. Hopefully they will call it evenly for both sides in this game and let them play.