There’s one thing for sure that all fans know: a green team will be winning. On Tuesday night, the Boston Celtics regained the series, beating the Milwaukee Bucks 92-87. It’s been a back and forth series, with both teams winning at home. Both teams have struggled finding ways to win on the road against raucous crowds that feed into the energy of the home team. At this rate, it will be imperative that the Bucks make the necessary adjustments to play against such a rowdy crowd if they want to advance to the second round. But first, they MUST win game 6.
The tension have reached boiling points especially between Bucks point guard Eric Bledsoe and Celtics point guard Terry Rozier. In an interview after game 2, in which Rozier scored back-to-back 23 point games, Bledsoe deflected any questions regarding Rozier’s dominant play. His only response, “Who?”. The frustration is understood, but to completely diss another opponent and struggle personally does not give Bledsoe any leverage in the verbal battle. He’s going to have to let his play do the talk if this team wants to advance.
Preview and Prediction: Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks
Bucks All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is carrying this Bucks team and the entire country of Greece on his back. Giannis is averaging 25.4 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 7 assists a game. His combination of height, athleticism, ball-handling, and court vision allow him to play point guard through power-forward. He’s already viewed as one of the best defensive players in the league, averaging 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks per game. His wingspan forces drivers into tougher shots and turnovers. He changes the opponents shot trajectory.
The Celtics will live with his production as long as they can shut down the rest of the supporting cast. In Game 5, their defense stifled the Bucks, holding them to a paltry 36.8% field goal percentage. Head Coach Brad Stevens has employed successful defensive schemes that force opposing players to jack up long contested shots. There is never any overplaying on pick-and-rolls to prevent his players from getting into bad positioning on drive attempts. Stevens attention to detail on defense has allowed him to make unheralded players appear to be defensive studs.
Game 6 takes place back in Milwaukee where the Bucks have not lost this season. The magnitude of this game and the home-court advantage will elevate the Buck’s game. Their backs are on the walls and they know that every possession will bear a lot of meaning for this team. Expect aggressive and improved play from the Bucks, who do not want to sit on their couches for the rest of these finals. Bucks head coach Joe Prunty should give backup point guard Malcolm Brogdon additional minutes, who has been a reliable ball-handler and active defender. His leadership and scoring prowess needs to be given strong consideration in game 6 and I expect Prunty to spot this.