On the one hand the Celtics who have just “swept” the Nets, on the other hand the reigning champions who have lost a member of their “Big Three”, Khris Middleton. The dynamics are not the same, and even though Milwaukee has finally done the short work of the Bulls and the workforce remains quality, the Celtics have the potential to send the Bucks on vacation.
Since January 1st, the Celtics have found the right formula and, unlike other teams, they have no injuries. They reunited with Robert Williams to finish the series against the Nets and his return was a regular one. A reinforcement of your choice to challenge the Bucks where the Lopez-Giannis-Portis trio can take control of the racket but also play off. The Celtics weren’t afraid to take on the Nets and their sweep gives them even more confidence.
For Milwaukee, the loss of Khris Middleton was handled fairly well, but the Bulls were down too and Mike Budenholzer decided to raise his fives with Bobby Portis rather than Grayson Allen. Maybe he will change his strategy to counter Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum …
PRESENTATION OF THE CELTICS
Owners: M.Smart, J. Brown, J.Tatum, A.Horford, R.Williams.
Spare parts: D. White, D. Theis, P. Pritchard, N. Stauskas, J. Morgan, A. Nesmith, S. Hauser, G. Williams, M. Fitts, L. Kornet.
The coach: I. Udoka.
Robert Williams is back and the Celtics have regained their defensive base with a complementary pivot from Al Hordord and this duo combines experience, game read and athletic qualities to counter Giannis Anteokounmpo. On the outside, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will obviously be in charge of fueling their team’s branding, while Marcus Smart (elected Defender of the Year 2022) will, as often, be tasked with transforming the C’s offense and setting the tone in defense. .
Off the bench, Ime Udoka can also count on valiant soldiers, such as the versatile Derrick White and Grant Williams, but also on active players, such as Daniel Theis and the young Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith. The rotation is 8-9 players, and that’s more than enough in the playoffs.
– The dynamics. Authors of a complicated start (11th in the East on January 16, with 22 wins and 22 defeats), the Celtics then re-mobilized to achieve a second part of the season with a bang: 29-9, of which 17-5 after the All-Star Weekend if we take into account the “sweep” against the Nets! With the best defense in the league and 6th best offense in the nation, the C’s flew through the first round against the Nets, and showed control when it came to snatching a last-second win. Elements like Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum or Al Horford play their best basketball at the best time.
– Defence. Brad Stevens has built a workforce that sticks to the basketball of Ime Udoka, a former disciple of Gregg Popovich, but also a former Sixers and the Nets defensive specialist. Marcus Smart has just been voted best defender of the year, but all of the top five are impressive. Jayson Tatum also made great progress on the pitch, as we saw against Kevin Durant. Off the bench, Derrick White and Grant Williams maintained the same defensive level for 48 minutes.
– A challenging defense. The Celtics change on all screens and the versatility of their players allows them to rarely have problems in “match-ups”. We saw him against the Nets where Kevin Durant rarely took the place of his defender despite his talent and size advantage. The problem is that he is very demanding physically and mentally. Physically because you have to be constantly vigilant and the slightest delay can result in a violation and / or an error. Mentally because it requires a lot of communication and reading screens well.
– The 3-point address. Nothing catastrophic as the team runs at 35%, but Boston does not have a 3-point shooting specialist and there is no designated shooter. It is Tatum who does the most damage because the Smart-Brown duo clearly has no compass in their eye with 31% for the former, and 21% for the latter. The Bucks could take the opportunity to bet on Tatum, even at the cost of leaving open positions to Smart and Brown.
PRESENTATION OF BUCKS
Owners : G. Antetokounmpo · J. Holiday · B. Lopez · W. Matthews · B. Portis
Spare parts : G. Allen, P. Connaughton, S. Ibaka, J. Carter
The injured : K. Middleton, G. Hill
The coach : Mike Budenholzer
– Experience. The Bucks are reigning champions and despite injuries and long-term absences, the team maintained a good level of play to the point of grabbing 3rd place. Conference finalist in 2019, champion in 2021, the Wisconsin franchise is used to spring games. The players are well prepared, they know how to press the right button to enter “playoff mode” and evolve to their best level. They have shown they can handle the absence of a great player, like Giannis for two games in 2021, or Middleton against the Bulls.
– Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek once again achieved an absolutely huge regular season, worthy of his two MVP campaigns. With 29.9 points, 11.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game, he’s the Bucks’ main weapon and it’s still hard to stop. Chicago never found the save and in Game 5 they killed the game in the first quarter. The Greek has learned to deal with the defenses that keep him from going in circles, and if his shooters get involved Boston will be in danger.
– The absence of Khris Middleton. It’s the great membership card for the Bucks who have lost their second top scorer, All-Star and Olympic champion. It’s a huge loss on both ends of the pitch because Middleton is a great defender and would have taken care of Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum. Officially, he’s not out for the entire series, but it’s going to be hard to come back within two weeks.
– A weakened bench. Khris Middleton unavoidably absent, Budenholzer draws from his bench. In front of the Bulls he opted for Bobby Portis, and it is the choice that most weakens his bench, in points, in rebound and in versatility. Portis has the option of replacing Lopez or Giannis, and the team is left with the lone Serge Ibaka as an internal rotation. Depending on the first game, perhaps the Bucks manager will start Grayson Allen or Pat Connaughton, and then take advantage of Portis as sixth man.
THE KEY TO THE SERIES
– Defense on Giannis. Having contained Kevin Durant, the Celtics are facing a double MVP and the MVP of the 2021 Finals. For this they have three very interesting players: Al Horford as their first option, and the insiders had hindered Giannis a lot in the last game. ; the second curtain Robert Williams; Grant Williams off the bench. It will be hard work, and since the Bucks star is less dangerous than Durant on the pitch, it will mainly be about stopping him and keeping him from picking up speed. The ideal therefore is to force him to play halfway, and bet on his speed compared to Al Horford.
November 12: Boston – Milwaukee (122-113 AD)
December 13: Boston – Milwaukee (117-103)
25th December : Milwaukee – Boston (117 -113)
April 7: Milwaukee – Boston (127-121)
The Celtics’ car is running at full capacity and seems even more confident in their basketball after the spanking inflicted on the Nets. Jayson Tatum’s hoop at the buzzer did him a lot of good, but so did the whole group as the team was only 29th out of 30 in offensive efficiency in close matches. Everything was not settled but this success, in the first match, could have caused a snap in the heads. Now, we don’t have to get too excited because Milwaukee, even belittled, is able to get through this round. The Bucks have struggled with injuries all season and the team recovered quickly after losing to Khris Middleton. This group has an adamant mind and can count if it is a very defensive streak. Boston has had no doubts for four months and we don’t know how this group will react in the event of a bad patch.
The same advantage for the Celtics, in full, fresher and more brilliant in the defensive phase. Be wary all the same because Giannis Antetokounmpo, like a LeBron James from a few years ago, is able to take control of a series and make a difference.
Game 1: in Boston, Sunday 1 May (7:00 pm in France)
Game 2: in Boston, Tuesday May 3 (1:00 am, Tuesday evening to Wednesday in France)
Game 3: Milwaukee, Saturday May 7 (9.30pm)
Game 4: in Milwaukee, Monday May 9 (1:30 Monday to Tuesday night in France)
Game 5 *: in Boston, Wednesday 11 May (date to be defined)
Game 6 *: in Milwaukee, Friday, May 12 (date to be defined)
Game 7 *: in Boston, Sunday 14 May (date to be defined)
* If necessary.