Bucks Can Continue to Play ‘Bully Ball’
The Milwaukee Bucks stunned the Boston Celtics on Sunday as they physically dominated the home team. Milwaukee, which was without star forward Khris Middleton, opened as an underdog and were underdogs in the Bucks vs Celtics game betting preview.
However, Milwaukee showed its size and physicality by beating up on the Celtics in the post – literally at times – as players like Boston’s Marcus Smart got hurt. The Bucks held the Celtics to just 10 field goals inside the arc at 29.4 percent shooting (10 of 34). Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez held the fort and combined for five blocks as they deterred the likes of Jayson Tatum from scoring inside.
Even with Antetokounmpo shooting just 36 percent and the team at just 41.1 percent, Milwaukee contained Boston for the duration of the game. They say “you can’t teach size” and it bodes well for the Milwaukee Bucks’ betting odds if they continue bullying the Celtics.
- Team records: Milwaukee Bucks 56-32 (third seed in East); Boston Celtics (55-32, second seed in East).
- Date: Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET
- Television/live stream: TNT
- Location: TD Garden, Boston
Celtics Facing Must-Win Game 2 at Home
The Boston Celtics’ championship odds took a hit after getting manhandled by the Bucks in Game 1. This was a team that swept the Brooklyn Nets, the preseason favorites to win the NBA title, but it appeared like the Celtics were a tier below the defending champions.
Boston is now the underdog to come back and win the series. Teams that lose the first game only win the series 25 percent of the time. In the 2019 playoffs, the Celtics went up 1-0 on the Bucks only to lose the rest of the series. If Boston hopes to reverse the roles here, it will have to figure out how to score better on Milwaukee.
The Celtics hit 18 3-pointers at a 36 percent rate against Milwaukee in the series opener and still couldn’t close the gap. But Boston also couldn’t score inside and turned the ball over 18 times. Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined to commit 10 of these turnovers while shooting just 10 of 31 (32.2 percent). If Boston is to win this game and even things up, the duo will have to make better decisions with the rock.
Injuries May Slow Celtics
Injuries were supposed to slow down the Bucks, but the Celtics are dealing with a few of their own. Smart has a pair of injuries while big man Robert Williams is also not 100 percent. Milwaukee, with a killer instinct, can exploit these injuries by continually going at them.
Smart, as tough as he is, was visibly bothered by his shoulder as he shot just 3 of 11 from the field while Williams only played 22 minutes and was a non-factor. Assuming Smart’s shooting woes continue, this gives the Celtics fewer options from beyond the arc. If Williams is unable to give 100 percent, it will make it harder to slow down the Bucks’ many bigs.
The Celtics’ bench players will also have to step up. They outscored the Bucks’ bench 28-26 but were still outplayed. Grant Williams was a -15 and Payton Pritchard, despite playing just 11 minutes, was a game-worst -17. A bounce-back performance from them will go a long way.
Bucks vs Celtics Betting Trends
With the win on Sunday, the Milwaukee Bucks have now won three straight games against the Boston Celtics. The Bucks are 6-4 in their last 10 against Boston, but the Celtics are 8-2 against the spread (ATS) in this span.
The Bucks’ 12-point win was the second-largest margin of victory by any team in their last 10 meetings. The average margin of victory for the winner has been 6.8 points.
The total has gone over in eight of the last 10 meetings. However, all six of Milwaukee’s playoff games have gone under the total and six of Boston’s nine games this month have as well.
Antetokounmpo and Tatum have played against each other 28 times. Antetokounmpo leads these meetings, 16-12. The “Greek Freak” has outperformed Tatum, averaging 28 points, 10.9 rebounds and 5.6 assists compared to 17.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
Boston is 20-11 (18-13 ATS) following a loss. The Celtics have also only lost consecutive games once in their last 34 games.Follow us on Twitter