After what seemed like a month-long break it’s finally time for some playoff basketball again. The C’s are in Wisconsin to tip-off against the Eastern Conference’s best team and the NBA’s best player.
Here’s why Boston will take down Giannis and the Bucks in seven games:
We all know that the key to stopping the Bucks is slowing down Giannis. Containing the Greek Freak will need be a group effort and the Celtics are well-equipped for the challenge. Al Horford, Semi Ojeleye, Marcus Morris, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward. There’s not a single player in the NBA right now who can guard Giannis by himself, but continuously throwing bodies at him and giving him different looks gives you your best chance to throw him off his rhythm. The Celts have the size and ability to do so.
Another strength of Milwaukee’s is their ability to cause turnovers and get out on the fast break. That will be countered the Celtics’ turnover efficiency of 12.7 percent, which was good for third best in the NBA this season. Boston was able to slow Milwaukee down in the postseason last year and force them into a half court offense and there’s no reason to believe they can’t do that again. After Giannis and Khris Middleton, the Bucks don’t pose much of an scoring threat. Just ask Eric (Drew) Bledsoe how severely Terry Rozier outplayed him a year ago.
Lack of experience remains the Bucks’ most glaring weakness, and for good reason. The importance of playoff pedigree can’t be understated. Milwaukee doesn’t have anyone who’s been a top three or four player on a team that’s made a deep run. Meanwhile, Kyrie Irving made one of the biggest shots in Finals history, Al Horford has played in 115 playoff games, Gordon Hayward led the Jazz to a series win in 2017, and the rest of the Celtics’ key players clawed their way to Game 7 of the Conference Finals last year.
It sucks not having home court advantage, but the Celtics will take care of business at the Garden which means they only need one win in Milwaukee. Even if they go down 2-0, they’ll still be in good shape to tie it up at home and then carry that momentum back on the road. Celtics in 7.
Follow Jack Bardsley on Twitter @BostonsBigFour
Photo Credit: Jim Davis/Boston Globe