Game 1 between the seventh-seeded Milwaukee Bucks and the second-seeded Boston Celtics was an instant classic. Boston pulled out the 113-107 victory in overtime, but the end of regulation was wild and included several big three-point shots.
Game 2 between the two teams in Boston today promises to be another good contest, as these teams are quite evenly-matched given the injuries the Celtics have (8 p.m. ET Tuesday on TNT).
Milwaukee got a combined 66 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. But that wasn’t enough as the Celtics outhustled the Bucks in many areas, getting 11 extra field-goal attempts and three extra free-throw attempts. The Celtics, meanwhile, fought through some major offensive droughts without their offensive stud Kyrie Irving, eventually getting enough production from its five top minute-getters to survive.
This preview will study the main factors for Game 2 and make a couple of Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics predictions. They will be picks with the best sites to join for NBA betting, to decide which team will cover the spread and for the game’s total points.
How Will Bucks Adjust Rotation To Counter Celtics’ Size?
Boston has used small-ball lineups at many points in the season. However, in Game 1, the Celtics went huge. Terry Rozier is an athletic, long point guard who rebounds well, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are two very big wings, and Al Horford and Aron Baynes is a pretty beefy 4-5 combo. Off the bench, Marcus Morris, a combo 3/4 who stands 6’9” and weighs 235 pounds, played 35 minutes.
Milwaukee chose to play small. The Bucks’ starting lineup had one true big man (John Henson) and the two biggest minute players off the bench were Malcolm Brogdon and Jason Terry, both guards.
As a result of their superior size, the Celtics got 11 offensive rebounds to the Bucks’ five and forced 31 fouls to be called on Milwaukee, compared to 21 for Boston.
Bucks coach Joe Prunty may need to switch up his strategy a bit so his squad doesn’t get bludgeoned inside by the Celtics.
Can Boston Find Scoring Production from a Sixth Player?
Both teams struggled with scoring balance in Game 1. The Celtics and Bucks each had only five players with more than five points. This is a more sustainable approach for the Bucks, who have Giannis Antetokounmpo (26.9 points per game) and Khris Middleton (20.1 points per game) to dominate the scoring column.
Boston still survived in Game 1 because of some nice all-around performances from their starters, but relying on a relatively few number of players to score is not a good approach for them with superstar point guard Kyrie Irving out of the lineup. The Celtics’ top healthy scorer on a per-game basis is Jaylen Brown (14.5 points).
Without a stud scorer, Boston needs all the balance it can get. The Celtics need more contributions from its role players, namely Shane Larkin (five points in Game 1), Greg Monroe (one point), Aron Baynes (zero points) and Semi Ojeleye (zero points).
Can Jabari Parker Find His Niche in Game 2?
Jabari Parker is often a roller-coaster ride to watch, if you are a Bucks fan. The former No. 2 overall pick can light up the scoreboard for Milwaukee at times, but he is often out of position and slow-footed on defense.
Game 1 was one of Parker’s worst moments in his Bucks tenure. The combo forward scored just two points on 1-of-5 shooting in 14 minutes and was almost non-existent on defense. The Celtics outscored the Bucks by 14 points when he was in the game, while Milwaukee outscored Boston by six points in the 39 minutes Parker sat.
Parker will probably not get to the point where he is a positive, or even serviceable, defender in this series. But he needs to stay aggressive and efficient on offense to give the Bucks’ offense more balance and give the team a legitimate reason to play him.
Our Preview’s Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics Game 2 Betting Picks & Predictions
The Celtics just barely scraped out a win despite the advantages they had in many hustle statistics, and the fact that Bucks scoring forward Jabari Parker had two points. With Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart absent for Boston, these teams are very similar in quality.
Mainly because of sheer desperation, I think Milwaukee will come out with more energy and tweak its rotations to help some of its problems in Game 1. This game feels like a pick‘em in the estimation of this preview.
- Boston is a 2.5-point favorite at home. However, I think the Bucks’ desperation will do a lot to wipe out the effects of home-court advantage. Bet on the Bucks +2.5 @ -110 with Bovada or 5Dimes.
- Game 1 felt like a major offensive struggle for these teams for a lot of the game, and the total scored was still 198 at the end of regulation. With a bit more scoring from Parker and probably a bit more from the Celtics bench, I would guess this game cracks the 200 mark. The best option out there is to place your bet on the over 197pts @ -110 with Bookmaker.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.