The no. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference Boston Celtics first-round playoff opponent is the Milwaukee Bucks. It’s got to be a massive gut-punch for all Celtics fans starting the postseason without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the Celtics two prized offseason additions played five minutes together this season before Hayward’s season ended with a gruesome dislocated and broken ankle. Then, with a month left in the regular season, Irving’s previously fractured kneecap started to flare up on him. He had surgery to remove a tension wire from the knee, but the pain did not subside and the Celtics shut him down to have two screws removed from the knee. Also not having either of their two best players, the Celtics will also be without Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis.
The Bucks season was very up and down with their Superstar MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo continuing to develop into one of the NBA’s Superstars. In the middle of the year, they added Eric Bledsoe from the Phoneix Suns. While the Bucks unquestionably have the best player in the series, I still expect the Celtics to win the series in six or seven games.
The Bucks have the best player and they might have the second best player, depending on who you ask. I personally would take Al Horford over Bledsoe, but most wouldn’t. The reason I pick the Celtics is that they simply have a clue, the Bucks simply give the ball to Antetokounmpo and get out of his way. Plus, Horford has defended Antetokounmpo very well this year. I trust Brad Stevens to get the most out of Horford, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown and the Celtics have very good bench players in Marcus Morris and Greg Monroe. Sixth man of the year Terry Rozier will step into the Starting Five alongside Horford, Tatum, Brown and Aron Baynes. The Bucks have the best player but Boston has everything else. I’ll take the Celtics in six games to move onto a second round date with either the Philadelphia 76ers or Miami Heat.