Last Updated: 2019-05-08
The No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks are one step away from the Eastern Conference Finals after a 113-101 victory over the No. 4 seed Boston Celtics in Game 4 of their semifinal series at TD Garden in Boston. The Bucks have won five of their last six meetings with the Celtics including the previous three games in this series, and it seems like they just have to finish the job in Game 5 at Fiserv Forum, but the Celtics will bring their best game to eventually pull off an upset and head the series back to Boston.
The Celtics are coming in full strength after Marcus Smart returned to action in Game. The Bucks will miss Pau Gasol (ankle), while Malcolm Brogdon (heel) is still questionable.
The Bucks opened as strong 9-point favorites with the total at 218.0 points and the Celtics at +360 money line odds. Milwaukee covered in all its three wins in the series including a 7.5-point spread in Game 2 on the home court.
What’s at Stake?
The Celtics are in a win or go home situation, while the Bucks will certainly make their life complicated with an eventual loss, as Game 6 would be played at TD Garden in Boston.
The Bucks want to keep the momentum on their side. After a tough loss in Game 1 at home, the Bucks have thrashed off the Celtics in the next three meetings. On the other side, the Celtics have been playing poorly on the home court and their confidence is certainly damaged.
The Celtics continue to struggle from the field in this series, shooting just 37.8% in Game 4 while hitting only nine triples out of 41 attempts from deep. They shot 43.2% from the field in Game 3 and 39.5% in Game 2. Kyrie Irving was terrible in the previous three games. After scoring just nine points on 4-of-18 shooting from the field in Game 2, Uncle Drew made 15 of his 44 field-goal attempts in the previous two contests. Also, Kyrie is shooting 6-of-25 from beyond the arc in the series.
All Celtics’ starters scored in double figures in Game 4, but the second unit combined for paltry seven points. Gordon Hayward had two points on 1-of-5 shooting, same as Terry Rozier, while Marcus Smart had three points on 1-of-7 shooting from deep. The Celtics have to make open shots in Game 5 or will be blown away once again.
The Bucks made 44.0% of their field goals in Game 4, nailing just eight triples out of 37 attempts. However, they turned the ball over only eight times, while Giannis Antetokounmpo dominated the Celtics with 39 points, 16 rebounds, and four assists, shooting 15-of-22 from the field and 7-of-10 from the charity stripe. Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe added 13 points each, while George Hill had another excellent performance off the bench, dropping 15 points along with five dimes and four boards.
The Celtics obviously cannot slow down Antetokounmpo, although it looked like they have a plan after a victory in Game 1. They respect Giannis’ jump shot too much, and the Greek Freak is taking advantage of it to drive the lane and score easy buckets in the paint. If the Celtics continue to defend him the same way, Giannis will have another big game Wednesday night. The key for the Celtics is a better defense and a much better shooting, and it seems they are not up to the task.
After another dreadful performance by the Celtics, it looks like the Bucks will close out the series in five games. Still, the bookies set a huge spread, and the Celtics could make one last push to at least make the final minutes interesting to watch. I’ve got burned on the Celtics in the previous two games, but I would stick with them to cover a 9-point spread on this one. Also, I will take the over for the first time in this series. The Celtics cannot shoot any worse than they did in Game 4, and playing with their backs against the wall could force them to finally make some open shots. On the other side, the Bucks are always trying to push the ball in transition and speed up the tempo which will help the over backers.
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