NBA First round playoff action this evening and we will see the Boston Celtics pay a visit to BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to grapple with the Milwaukee Bucks in game six of their best-of-seven series. This has been a home-dominated series as the home teams have won all five games. The Celtics took game five by a score of 92-87 and now have a 3-2 lead in the series.
The Defense Steps Up In Game five
The Boston Celtics finished 2nd in the Atlantic Division and they came into the postseason hobbling a bit as they were hit with some injuries, most notably, Kyrie Irving, but still, they have a 3-2 series lead after winning game five by a score of 92-87. The defense has been what has led the Celtics this year and it really led them in game five as they allowed the Bucks to hit just 36.8% of their shots from the field overall, including just 27.3% of their shots from beyond the arc. They will be hoping for that same kind of defense in this one and they have allowed just 100.6 ppg on 44.4% shooting on the road for the year, but they have allowed 104 and 116 points in the two road games in this series so far. The Celtics were happy to get Marcus Smart back for game five after he had missed the previous 19 games with a thumb injury. He had nine points in the win. Leading their attack in the game was Al Horford, who had 22, while Terry Rozier had 16 and Jaylen Brown had 14 to round out their top three scorers in the game. The Celtics shot 42.0% from the field overall, including 32.3% from long range. They have averaged 102.2 ppg on 44.3% shooting from the field on the road this year.
During the regular season, the Celtics ranked 20th in the league in scoring at 104.0 ppg, while also ranking 21st in shooting (45.0%), 2nd in 3-point shooting (37.7%) and 17th in free throw shooting (77.1%). At the defensive end of the court, they were very good as they allowed 100.4 ppg, which is 3rd in the league, while also ranking 2nd in defensive FG% (44.0%) and 1st in 3-point defense (33.9%).
The Bucks Are Looking To Send It To A Game Seven
The Milwaukee Bucks had a decent season this year overall, but if they do not win this game, then their season will be over. The good news is that they looked really good in their home games in this series and are now 27-16 at home for the year. The offense really hurt them in game five as they shot very poorly and scored just 87 total points. They have scored 116 and 114 in their two home games in this series and they have now averaged 106.9 ppg on 48.6% shooting here at BMO Harris Bradley Center for the year. That tough Boston defense will be tested in this one. leading their attack in game five was Khris Middleton, who had 23, while Jabari Parker had 17 and Eric Bledsoe and Giannis Antetokounmpo each had 16 to round out their double-digit scorers in the game. Antetokounmpo has really had a nice series as he has averaged 25.4 ppg in the five games so far and they will need a big game from him in this one. The defense was not bad in game five as they held the Celtics to just 42.0% shooting from the field overall, including just 32.3% shooting from long range. The Bucks have allowed 105.4 ppg on 46.8% shooting from the field here at home for the year.
During the regular season, the Bucks were a very average offensive team as they ranked 15th in the league in scoring at 106.5 ppg, while also ranking 3rd in shooting (47.8%), 22nd in 3-point shooting (35.5%) and 8th in free throw shooting (78.2%). At the defensive end of the court, they were a bit below average as they allowed 106.8 ppg, which is 16th in the league, while also ranking 21st in defensive FG% (46.8%) and 25th in 3-point defense (37.2%).
- The Over is 8-1 in their last nine vs. the Eastern Conference
- The Over is 7-2-1 in their last 10 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600
- The Over is 14-3 in their last 17 games vs. the Eastern Conference
- The Over is 11-1 in their last 12 games following a straight-up loss
The Bucks have been a solid offensive team here at home for the year and they have scored 116 and 104 in the two games here at BMO Harris Bradley Center so far, while the Celtics have struggled to score at this venue in the two games. Still, I like the Boston offense to get going in this one, especially with Marcus Smart back in the lineup. The Bucks have allowed 105.4 ppg here at home for the year, so Boston will get their points. The Celtics have been a very good defensive team this year, but the Bucks have averaged 106.8 ppg here at home for the year and I look for them to get their fair share of points. Playoff basketball usually breeds low scoring games, but four of the five games in this series has gone Over and I will look for this one to do the same, especially knowing that the Over is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings between these teams here in Milwaukee.