Boston at Milwaukee
Time: 8:30 PM CT (ESPN)
Spread: MIL -5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Milwaukee Bucks now face a 0-2 deficit after losing Game 2 120-106, and it heads back to Milwaukee seeking some redemption and wondering what more it can do against a Boston Celtics team that has rallied around backup point guard Terry Rozier, who is starting in place of the injured Kyrie Irving. Rozier has been unflappable and brilliant, dispelling all previous notions about the second-year guard not being ready for postseason basketball.
Even his swagger seems to suggest Boston knows this series belongs to them, despite the Bucks arguably possessing more talent. It just has not translated to much for Milwaukee in the playoffs yet, and this year appears to be no exception. The C’s are riding a trio of young players and dominating Milwaukee in nearly every facet of the game. And again, despite all of this, the home team is favored as the Bucks are 5-point favs at bookmaker 5dimes. Home court should not be that big of a deal, and even Brad Stevens has commented on it saying that “guys…kinda relish the challenge of getting a chance to play on the road against a really good team.”
The Bucks are also likely to be without its starting center tonight, and that is no small loss. John Henson has never been a major scorer, but his defensive presence and court intelligence can hardly be replaced by Thon Maker or Tyler Seller, both of whom made little to no contribution in Game 2 in playing seven COMBINED, scoreless minutes. Suddenly, Maker or Zeller must prove very important, because Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton are pretty much already maxing out and playing the best basketball they are capable of. Giannis had 30 in Game 2, and Middleton added 25, but the rest of the Bucks contributed precious little—most especially Eric Bledsoe, who has played horribly in this series.
Bledsoe has been absolutely out-played by Rozier. Bledsoe had 12 points and seven rebounds in Game 2, but Rozier dropped 23 points and eight assists and posted the highest plus-minus (+19) of any Celtic, and it was mostly because Bledsoe simply cannot stay between Rozier and the basket. Play after play, Rozier either got himself a bucket or exposed a Bledsoe misstep to get his teammates easy looks. The Celtics shot 53.3 percent from the field and knocked down 13 triples, while also managing to stay-even with the Bucks long frontcourt on the glass.
That is pretty much a recipe for victory, too. Let Antetokounmpo and Middleton get theirs, and just limit the ragtag collection of scrubs that inhabit the roster with them. Jabari Parker clearly is not 100 percent, and he played just 10 minutes in Game 2 while going 0 of 2 from the floor. Until Parker is back in form, and that will likely be next season, it is difficult to see the Deer doing little more than digging a hole it cannot escape from as it falls behind 0-3 and the Celtics get an impressive road victory in Game 3.